Monday, March 6, 2017

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

Title: The German Girl
Author: Armando Lucas Correa
Read by: Joy Osmanski
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 10 hours and 49 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

Refugees fleeing a war torn nation are desperate to enter the United States, but are denied entry due to their religion.  This is not a story of 2017, but a story of the ill-fated St. Louis, a ship full of Jewish refugees fleeing Germany seeking asylum in the United States in 1939.

The German Girl is two parallel stories of Hannah in 1939 and Anna in 2014.  Hannah is a 12 year old girl living in an increasingly hostel Berlin.  Her parents are well to do, but they are Jewish and scorned even by their own tenants for being Jewish.  Hannah is blonde haired and blue eyed and mistakenly valued as a true “German Girl” in a magazine that didn’t realize she was Jewish.  Her one joy in life is her friend, Leo as they run around Berlin together.  Hannah does not understand her mother who is increasingly shut up and depressed in their apartment.  When her parents get tickets, passports and landing passes to Cuba, they are elated.  What starts off as a luxury tour across the Atlantic soon turns into a nightmare when they are not allowed to disembark.  People spent their entire life savings buying their passage, passports, and landing passes, but were still not allowed to disembark in Cuba.  It was terrifying.  How will Hannah’s family overcome this obstacle?

In 2014, Anna has a depressed isolated mother who lives in New York City.  Anna wonders about her father who “disappeared” one day before she was born.  It turns out he was in the twin tours on 9/11.  Anna and her mother don’t know much about her father’s family until one day when they are contacted by Aunt Hannah in Cuba.  They travel to Cuba to find out the story of the family.

Joy Osmanski was a good narrator, but I sometimes found it confusing on the audiobook on which story I was listening too.  I think it was because only one narrator was used who sounded the same.  I really like when there are two or more narrators in the novel, for there to be two or more narrators of an audiobook.  It makes for easier listening.  I found Hannah’s story line riveting, but Anna’s didn’t really capture me until she visited Hannah in Cuba.  Some of the storyline did let me down.

I didn’t understand at all how Hannah’s Mom proclaimed they would “make Cuba pay” by burying their bones so they lived a stagnant life on the island never leaving or moving forward.  I’m not sure at all why this would make Cuba pay or why Cuba would care.  Hannah was so young, I don’t know why she wouldn’t have moved forward with her life.

I wish the story would have continued actually on the St. Louis.  I felt the story wasn’t developed enough for what happened to the rest of the passengers.  Having Leo as a narrator to explain it would have really built some more tension and emotion into the story.  Having said that, the final scene that Hannah imagines with Leo and his father brought me to tears.

Overall, The German Girl was a fascinating look at one of the darker periods of history that is all too often mirroring our current events. 

1 comment:

  1. Laura, thank you for your honest review of this audio book. I like the idea of two parallel stories. Wonderful review, Laura, with just the right amount of detail.