“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”
This book was so lovely and not lovely because it was happy and full of joy, but lovely because it showed that regardless of the evil that some demented humans can cause, there is such beauty and strength in humanity.
Lina is fifteen years old when she is separated from her mother and alongside her mother and younger brother Jonas, they are forced to make the treacherous journey to Siberia where they are made to labor on potato farms.
The characters were all great and I enjoyed reading about how they pulled together to help each other. Lina was a great character and I loved how she didn’t let the situation defeat her and how she was determined to record everything through her art. Jonas touched my heart. I have a younger brother and there was something about how Lina and her mother looked out for him that felt so real. Lina’s mother, Elena, was an amazing woman- the way she pulled together and looked after not only her own children but also everyone else. When tragedy strikes it’s people like Elena that keeps everyone held together. I loved how the community of people worked together to keep morale up- how they shared food and clothing and stories and generally supported one another.
I didn’t think a book like this could have romantic love but it did and it wasn’t the “sweep me away to the moon” kind of love (which would have been inappropriate) but a nurturing kind of love that slowly grew between Andrius and Lena and I adored it.
There were some other characters that I can’t get out of my mind: the bald man and his harsh comments were so brutal but often hilarious, Janina and her doll and Una with her new born baby.
Overall, I loved this book and would highly recommend it. War fiction is always interesting to me, even though often it’s heart-wrenching, but I think these books need a place in our society. Horrors like this happened and it would be a dishonor to forget them. Horrors like this still occur so a story like this is always relevant.