Review / The Safest Lie

Book: The Safest Lie (2015)
Author: Angela Cerrito
Genre: MG, Historical [WWII]

Basic plot:  Anna Bauman is no longer Anna Bauman, all because she’s Jewish. She has to learn a new name and a completely new identity. First, she ends up in an orphanage, and then with a Polish family. She just tries to survive the war …

Opening lines from the book …
Mama’s arm is draped over me, soft as a butterfly’s wing. Papa clears his throat and pats at his coat pockets. He’s been awake all night guarding us from the two men who arrived yesterday.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) I found it fascinating how Anna manages to learn all about her new Catholic identity, and yet still remains true to her Jewishness. She may be Anna Karwolska during the day, at night she’s Anna Bauman. And I found it interesting to see her

2) The book spans several years of the war. It was interesting to see the various places she stays… from the initial mother and daughter team who rescue her to the nuns at the orphanage to the family who distribute a secret resistance newspaper.

3) Which brings me to my favourite part of the book. I loved the part Anna plays in helping out with the resistance newspaper. It was nice to see her idea actually work and how she becomes part of the solution in finding a new supply of paper. Go Anna!

4) We never meet the grandma, but her Yiddish sayings permeate the story. And being in Yiddish, they also are quite dangerous for young Anna to repeat out loud, which may or may not happen in the story! I’ll leave you to read all about it.

5) I love authors’ notes and this one did not disappoint! I loved learning about the spark that ignited this story into being… about the real-life woman (Irena Sendler) who rescued so many children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. There is even a photo of Irena Sendler and the author!

THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…

1) [*Slight Spoiler] The ending fell a little flat to me. I wanted a more definite ending and it ended up being kind of neither here nor there. I guess I wanted her to have a family… either to be reunited with her parents or to be happy with adoptive parents. They do mention the aunt in Canada, but that wasn’t super exciting for me since we don’t really know about her. Although, I wouldn’t mind meeting an aunt in Canada… Maybe Book #2??? [End Spoiler]

FINAL THOUGHTS

I love a good book about people who summon the courage to do things that are just plain scary (like defying the Nazis). I think it’s so important to know that it is possible to do what’s right even when the world around you has gone crazy. Definitely recommend this one for readers interested in history, and especially the history of World War II.

 


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

14 thoughts on “Review / The Safest Lie

  1. This sounds amazing! I love that it’s based on a real person, and the part about her having two identities is really intriguing. Although I’m a little wary of WWII fiction for adults, I never get tired of WWII for kids. There’s something so inspiring in a child standing up to such a brutal system. We all need books like this to encourage to be brave even when it’s hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I really liked how the author did that with the two identities. And I think you’re right about WWII books for adults; for me it’s the violence (or potential). The kids’ books usually steer clear of that (or at least don’t give us the gory detail).

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  2. This sounds like a very realistic portrayal of what an awful lot of people went through during the war. I have heard of this but haven’t gotten around to reading it. I will be looking for a copy. Thanks for the post.

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  3. I skipped the part that bothered you- since it said “spoiler”. But this book sounds like one I would really like. One of the times I visited Warsaw I went to a museum with all kinds of newspaper equipment used by the resistance. I like that Anna is involved! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  4. This sounds like a really excellent story—it sounds like it does justice to its real-life inspiration! Thanks so much for the great review!

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