Review: Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (audiobook)

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (audiobook)

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 15 hours and 56 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • Audible.com Release Date: September 15, 2009

My Review (3 Stars: Liked it!)

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum is a Jewish holocaust story focused on the question of the culpability of Germain citizens.  The author uses great vocabulary and descriptions.  However, like these stories are, it was upsetting and disturbing to listen to.  These descriptive stories of atrocities tend to make me sleep less well.

The narrator, Suzanne Toren, has a pleasant voice and added a nice touch of reality, using the German language and accent in different parts.

While listening to the ~16 hours, I fell asleep a couple of times and needed to backtrack.  The story goes back and forth in time.  My audible version of this novel does not have chapters label correctly, which made it difficult to  backtrack.

First Paragraph

HarcourtBooks, 2004 (from my local library)

PROLOGUE

Trudy and Anna, 1993

The funeral is well attended, the New Heidelberg Lutheran Church packed to capacity with farmers and their families who have come to bid farewell to one of their own.  Since every seat is full, they also line the walls and crowd the vestibule.  The men are comically unfamiliar in dark suits; they don’t get this dressed up for regular services.  The women, however, wear what the do every Sunday no matter what the weather, skirt-and-sweater sets with hose and pumps.  Their parkas, which are puffy and incongruous and signify the imminent return to life’s practicalities, are their sole concession to the cold.  …

Anna and Max,

Weimar, 1939-1940

1

The evening is typical enough until the dog begins to choke.  And even then, at first, Anna doesn’t both to turn from the Rouladen she is stuffing for the dinner that she and her father, Gerhard, will share, for the dachshund’s energetic gagging doesn’t strike her as anything unusual.  The dog, Spaetzle, is forever eating something he shouldn’t, savaging chicken carcasses and consuming heels of bread without chewing, and such greed is inevitable followed by retching.  Privately, Anna thinks him a horrid little creature and has ever since he was first presented to her five years ago on her fourteenth birthday, a gift from her father just after her mother’s death, as if in compensation.  It is perhaps unfair to resent Spaetzle for this, he is also chronically ill-tempered, snapping with his yellowed fangs at everyone except Gerhard; he is really her father’s pet.  And grossly fat, as Gerhard is always slipping him tidbits, despite his hallowed admonitions to Anna of Do not! Feed!  The dog!  From!  The table!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (audiobook)”

  1. So many holocaust books out there Pat and like you I find they can cause sleeplessness. Possibly not a bed time book!! Sometimes I fall asleep like that too, the other day I woke up to some podcast playing that I had on my iPad when I had started with a completely different one. I am going to have to go back to the one I started with and re listen to it!

  2. Thank you for sharing some of your thoughts about this book, Pat. Stories about the Holocaust are difficult to read or listen to, but very important.

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