Under the brutal Nazi regime, the Wobser family - Jewish by blood, Lutheran by choice - struggle to survive. This stirring tale of courage and endurance will profoundly move readers everywhere.
Plot: This narrative is well constructed and the pacing quickens as the story moves forward. The author creates good tension throughout, particularly during inserted commentaries about his father’s surgery.
Prose: The different voices are engaging, but Jerry's is the strongest, definitely meriting the attention it is given throughout. The book also contains moments of lovely wit and effective tension.
Originality: Memoirs of World War II refugees are not uncommon, but this work feels fresh -- and relevant in today's American society, considering current issues surrounding immigrants and refugees.
Characters: The characters are superbly crafted and seem like real people. Even minor characters have texture and depth.
Blurb: An honest, thoughtful narrative, told in the voice of a beloved father or grandfather whose stories you've always loved to hear – and even as you listen, you worry about how much longer he'll be alive to tell them.
Date Submitted: March 07, 2017
This book is much more complex than the description suggests. Ralph Webster says it was prompted by the Syrian refugee crisis, and that he wanted to tell the story of people who had everything taken from them and were forced to leave their homes, family, and possessions behind. Webster writes the story of a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life and turned out to be the father of the normal family next door. It is the story of the author’s father’s life as a German Jew growing up in the 1930s in what is now Poland. It is a fascinating story that will keep history buffs on the edge of their seats. When I first started reading the book, it felt very much like a love letter from an older son to an even older father. By the time I finished, it felt more like a letter of apology. Perhaps it is the most well written obituary of all time. I cannot claim to know the author’s mind, but this book is one of the best reads I have had in a long time.