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paperback Details
  • 1456639129
  • 247 pages
  • $
Seeking Shelter. Memoir of a Jewish Girlhood in Wartime Britain
Cynthia Ehrenkrantz was six in 1939 when Britain entered World War II. She was twelve in 1945 when the war ended. Seeking Shelter is her vivid child's-eye account of life in wartime England as she lived it: an adored only child in a large Jewish clan whose comfortable existence becomes one of food shortages, gas masks and air-raid sirens, and - worst of all - being sent away for months and years at a stretch to escape German bombs. Contending with bullies, rushing from a warm bed to a backyard shelter when sirens wail. Life is hard but also good: shining in a school play, collecting foil for the war effort, celebrating Passover... These are the mixed realities of wartime that mark young Cynthia forever in ways only adult Cynthia can understand.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: This is a straightforward yet riveting account of the author's experiences as a young, Jewish Londoner during World War Two. The author has a talent for bringing both the huge terrors—like the blitz—and the small joys to life for readers.

Prose: Ehrenkrantz uses clear and engaging prose to highlight her knack for storytelling.

Originality: So many accounts of WWII focus on what happened in continental Europe (the battles, ghettos, concentration camps, and more) — it is fascinating to read about how a family of English Jews experienced the violence of war (and antisemitism) from British shores.

Character/Execution: The author movingly narrates her wartime experiences through the eyes of her childhood self while also integrating retrospective wisdom. While the memoir is obviously most focused on the wartime years of the 1940s, readers will be saddened by the mention of her family's ongoing tragedies after the war: news of her Polish family's murder in Auschwitz and the way her parent's relationship crumbled. Wartime narratives don't necessarily stop when peace is declared; spending more time lingering on these post-war events would be very impactful.

Blurb: Seeking Shelter: Memoir of a Jewish Girlhood in Wartime Britain is a fascinating, fast-paced account of the author's experiences as a young Jewish girl living mostly in London during WWII, and the challenges, fears, and small joys her family endured while dodging bombs from the blitz.  

Date Submitted: December 02, 2022

Formats
paperback Details
  • 1456639129
  • 247 pages
  • $

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