I feel insensitive giving this book such a low rating but I think that this wasn’t anything like I expected and though it is based on fact, at points it didn’t seem very realistic. The main reason for this is that the majority of the book consists of Johanna speculating on what her grandparents did on their last day as they prepared to take their own lives. This should have been upsetting or moving, but I feel as though the writing style was to blame for this feeling of distance. This may have been more the fault of the translator but I felt that I didn’t connect to any of the people described in this book.
Also, the synopsis is a little misleading as it puts a lot of emphasis on the author’s grandparents surviving the Holocaust but as a reader, I felt like there wasn’t much really written about their pasts. It was shrouded in secrecy, which is understandable but I feel that because of this I didn’t really know much about the two grandparents who I should have cared about whilst reading this.
Though this was an interesting memoir that is written in a very simple way, overall it was very distant and also felt a little too much like fiction in my opinion.
2 out of 5 stars!