Thursday, February 11, 2016

A different girl that rides a train

"The Girl from the Train" (not to be confused with the other train/girl novel) was written by Irma Joubert and is about a young girl who escapes from a train headed for Auschwitz in Nazi governed Poland.  Gretl Schmidt has been living in the ghetto when she is moved by train to Auschwitz.  Her grandmother helps her and her sister to escape and Gretl is later found by Jakob, a Polish resistance fighter who takes her in with his family.  He comes to learn of a movement getting pure Aryan children of Protestant faith out of Europe and into South Africa.  The only problem being Gretl is 1/4 Jewish and being brought up in the Catholic faith with Jakob's family. 
The book reads like two novels.  The first half takes place in Europe during the war with Jakob fighting for Poland and Gretl being a child.  The second half takes place in South Africa during the 1950s with Jakob being an engineer and Gretl being a 20 year old college student.  It is a rather long book, however, the writing is done well.  Joubert deals with the Post traumatic stress of Gretl and the weaving of different cultures well.  Gretl's world is very interesting with all of the languages and cultures mixing and relating.  Especially how the races can see the difference in each other, when they are all the same color.  In America the colors are rather vague.  White is white, black is black.  The Europe that Joubert describes has so much detail in the people's race.  They are white, but this one is white like this and this one is white like that, making them very different.  Which is kinda baffling.  I give this book 4 stars.  Very good.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

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