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The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail

March 12, 2012

The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail. Pub. Black Dog Books, 2012. 

Novels about the Holocaust are powerful stories and this one opens with a majestic quote from Nelson Mandela “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love

It is the story of Hungarian sisters Hanna and Erika who with their parents are trucked to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 1944.

Hanna because her ability playing the piano is selected to play for the Kommandant while her sister and mother work in the quarry. They are starved and go through all the atrocities and indignities that the nazis inflicted on the Jews.

Horrifying but essential to know about. Holocaust fiction should be read by everyone in the hope that it will never happen again. Knowledge is power is it not?

Hanna and Erika’s story is heart warming and uplifting amongst the horror. So what makes it different? Well Hanna falls in love with the son of the Kommandant. Realistic? Yes indeed.

The ending is a revelation. For Intermediate and high school students. A good follow up to John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

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