baci's book club - August/September 2011 - Sarah's Key

Sorry for the week delay, but we've just had so many wonderful things to blog about that thought I'd try and spread out the blog love :o)

Our local book club met on Thursday, September 1st at my home and we read Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.  It truly was a wonderful book :o)

According to the description of the book on AmazonSarah's Key ". . . fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested. . . then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself."

WARNING, the following discussions may act as a Spoiler!!

As you can imagine, based on the book description, this one was intense - nonetheless, it was so beautifully written that it was hard to put down.  The first half of the book alternates chapters between Julia's time period and Sarah's - it's one of those books where you finish a chapter just to see what happened in the previous one!  The ladies in Book Club didn't enjoy the bits about Julia quite as much as they did the portion about Sarah, but that didn't stop anyone from loving this book.

A common thoughts was that we hated Julia's husband, none of us even understand why she remained married to him - sure he was hot, but that seemed like his only positive trait.  We all loved Julia's daughter Zoe's character - she seemed to serve as a light balance to Bertrand's rudeness.  Zoe is also a shoulder for Julia to lean on as she deals with the mental and physical struggles caused by her search for Sarah - it's almost a coming of age story for Zoe.

Each portion of Sarah's story that we would read became more and more dramatic.  There wasn't a moment when you truly thought the little girl was safe, even after her escape from the concentration camp.  You realize towards the end that those feelings are true, once Julia and Sarah's son, William, realize Sarah committed suicide several years before.  That point in the book was truly traumatic for most of us - we wanted to badly to hear Sarah had led a peaceful and happy life, leaving her awful past behind her.

In the end we were all happy to see Julia with her new child, divorced from low-life Bertrand and living in the US.  We did, however, hope the story would continue on after she meets with Sarah's son, William, and reveals her daughter's name is indeed Sarah.  I guess that's the way it always works with a book you really love though - never wanting it to end :o)

We all really look forward to watching the book unravel as a movie - it's definitely going to be a tear jerker though!!

For next month, we have chosen to read One Day by David Nicholls - also keeping with the book turned movie trend :o)  Super excited about this one, especially the movie, I adore Anne Hathaway!  Our next meeting is scheduled for October 20th so we'll see you then :o)

1 comment:

  1. This book touched my very soul. I cannot recommend it enough. I would have to say it is almost life changing. Be prepared for some tears. I couldn't put the book down.