The Jewish Nursery School/We had to save them – Original Title “De crèche”
Author: Elle Van Rijn
“This story is about courage, hate, and exclusion.” You can read in the final pages of this book. It is true.
This book came to my hands by chance, and I never thought I would be so impressed by it. I can’t remember the last time I read a book this quickly. I found two different English translations of it, so I’ll use its original title in this review.
De Crèche tells the story of a group of Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. The children would be separated from their parents. They would go to this institution until it was time to go to the concentration camps. In the middle of such tragedy, these brave young women would against all the laws to keep them safe.
Elle Van Rijn’s narrative is thoughtful and sweet but never disguises the truth. The horrible truth those people were living in.
She makes you care
We can’t stop reading, you want to know more. You need to know more. The story follows a chronology; you can’t avoid feeling a shiver down your spine with each new measure from the Nazi government.
The protagonist is Betty, a 17-year-old girl full of dreams and hopes. But, she grows up fast throughout the story. Her dreams, boys, all those things a 17-year-old cares about, all lose importance because she is involved in something bigger.
Despite her age, she never stops fighting. Even after losing her family, she keeps protecting those babies with such devotion that you may drop a tear or two.
Elle Van Rijn is able to do what any great writer should: she makes you care about the characters. You almost can feel their fear. You also want to pick up those kids and take them out of there.
A tormented life
When I finished the book, something really impacted me: Betty survives the war, but despite everything she’s done for those children, she still feels she didn’t do enough. She still grieved for the ones she couldn’t save.
De Crèche is a book full of emotions and courage in a time when being brave could mean your death. It keeps the memory of those brave women alive, and I recommend it.
A Clash of Kings
Author: George R.R. Martin
I finally finished reading the second book in George RR Martin’s saga A Song of Ice and Fire and despite the fact that I felt the need to slow the reading down a bit, I really liked the way he worked the story.
As we read, the story grows further and further apart from what’s presented to us on the TV show and my interest rises. New characters gain a significant voice and the plot extends, taking on new shapes. You will get to know new places and people, and even have some past events finally explained in greater detail.
The story becomes more dense and it could prove complicated at first (specially for those who don’t even follow the TV series) but the amazing writing will help visualize the complex political intrigue, the crude bloodshed aswell as the mystic and magic which is rising throughout the whole realm.
The book is deeply involving, largely due to the characters that are so alive and complex, full of ambiguity and not the classic good vs evil dichotomy we’ve grown used to. At Westeros, most of the people do not fight for ideals but for power or even safety. There are no stupid opponents to facilitate anyone’s life, the characters are clever and learn with their mistakes, increasing the intrigue in all fronts.
George RR Martin does not romanticize life and its’ events, making sure the atmosphere is full of dark and somber lighting, battles are not glamorous and most of the scenes are raw and crude, just as they ought to be.
As a fantasy book, the author calls upon some mystical or magical elements, but he manages to do it in a way in which the story doesn’t lose credibility or it’s grasp on reality.
The story remains surprising and the third book is already on my ‘To Read’ list as we speak.
The Fault In Our Stars (A culpa é das Estrelas) – John Green
The Discreet Hero – Mario Vargas Llosa