'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 6 September 2012

Review: The Wrong Boy

There have been countless Holocaust Fiction and Non Fiction publications over the decades, but few are for young adults. Still fewer are easy to read. The Wrong Boy fills this gap by painting clear pictures of what it was like without fancy phrasing or oblique references.

Suzy Zail makes this often horrific topic accessible to many through her short sentence structure. Her use of everyday vocabulary etches indelible images on the mind.

The harsh reality of the Holocaust years is not softened, nor should it be, but The Wrong Boy does something more, something that is unforgettable. Despite the fact that I suffered along with Hannah as she lost everything and was treated as less than human, Suzy's story allowed me to rise through this tortuous existence.

While some are consumed by hatred for perpetrators of these atrocities, Suzy reveals the anguish of some of the despised tormentors. Many of these hard individuals are little more than victims themselves.

I experience Birkenau with my senses, feel anger and disbelief at the depth of senseless cruelty inflicted, then find out what it might be like to live in a senior SS Officer's home. The experience flipped my personal pint of view upside down and inside out. Are we able to understand perpetrators of such evil? Even more crazy, would it be possible to fall in love with one of them?

The Wrong Boy is a roller coaster ride. From the comforts of home, through Nazi Concentration camps and back to a world forever changed, Hannah's 15-year-old eyes offer a more naive point of view. She doesn't look where she cannot bear to see. Although it hurt to read at times, I could not tear myself away from the page until the story was complete.

Hannah showed me that is was possible to cling to the tiniest of hopes in a world drowning in despair.

This is a must read for any teenager or adult interested in the past, the tragedy of war or what happens when humans believe they are superior.

The Wrong Boy would also be perfect extra reading for anyone studying the World Wars.

Title: The Wrong Boy
Author: Suzy Zail
Publisher: Black Dog Book, $18.95 RRP
Publication Date: 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781742031651
For ages: 13 +
Type: Young Adult