Only My Life by Louis de Wijze: Book Review

 

Book Title: Only My Life: A Survivor’s Story.

Author: Louis de Wijze.

Publication Date: 1997.

Rating (Out of Five Stars): 3.

 


Book Review


 

I would first like to say that my heart goes out to this man, for he struggled in his time at Auschwitz and lost many of his friends and family. None of my critiques are meant to demean that fact as the fact that the Holocaust had to happen absolutely disgusts me. While Louis de Wijze is no longer with us, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to hear his story and it is because of people like him that those tragic events will be remembered.

 

That being said, there are both good things and bad things about this book so I will first cover some of the good first.

 

The Good

 

I thought his story was unique, as somebody who has read many Holocaust novels, you notice a lot of repeats and similarities in stories but his was genuinely unique. It is because of the connections that he made that he survived which makes his story unique because there will never be a second person who has an identical story.

 

I was surprised by some of the topics that he was willing to divulge, in particular, I was surprised about the scene with Aron in his bed. While I had assumed that things like this happened, I never would have thought that anybody would admit such a thing. Not because they don’t want to talk about the fact that they were aroused by somebody of the same gender touching their member or anything but out of respect for the dead. Especially during a time where people who even had pink triangle were not liberated and were simply sent to other camps (a fact that will forever haunt me).

 

Another aspect that I found to be fascinating was the discussion of cannibalism, as it never occurred to me that there was even a chance of that happening. While I understand the actual possibility, due to the amount of dead bodies that they’re surrounded by and the starvation that everybody was dealing with, it doesn’t surprise me that something like this would happen but it never occurred to me that it did and I was surprised when he even mentioned it.

 

In total, I find the story and the moments of realism. I enjoyed the fact that he did not try to censor the story to benefit anybody and was honest about what actually happened.

 

The Bad

 

With all of the good comes some bad, while I loved the story, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style as I felt like it lacked detail and was shortened significantly too much. During scenes that felt it needed to have more information, it was lacking and I did not like the fact that it revealed at the beginning that there would be an execution, especially since the execution was relatively irrelevant to the story.

 

As something that was showcased at the very beginning of the story, I thought it would be more relevant to the story but honestly, the execution was kind of buried into the rest of the story.

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The Devil’s Arithmetic: Book Review

Book Title: The Devil’s Arithmetic.

Author: Jane Yolen.

Publication Date: November 1988.

Rating (Out of Five Stars): 4.5.


Book Review


I should preface that I have always been fascinated by Nazi Germany and the happenings in Concentration Camps. Perhaps this is a morbid fascination and it’s not a fascination that I can explain very easily. It’s just there, something that is never ending and will randomly catch my heart once more. It’s been a topic of interest for me ever since 6th grade when we began learning about in History class. Because of this, I have read many stories set during this time period (which I am actually hoping to reread and will likely post book reviews of them after I finish them).

Admittedly, I actually watched this movie before I ever read the book. In my Sophomore year of high school, we read Night by Elie Wiesel and then we watched The Devil’s Arithmetic. I personally wish we had read this book and then watched the movie, not because I disliked Night because on the contrary, Night is actually one of my favorite novels but simply because it would have made more sense to me to read the book and then watch the movie.

After reading The Book Thief, which was one of the first book reviews that I ever posted on here (The Book Thief by Markus Zusak : Book Review), I actually stepped away from the entire genre for quite some time. I had been so badly disappointed by the novel that I simply stepped away but like every other time, there was just something that brought me back. Perhaps it was this story that kept running through my head, a story that I desperately want to write, or perhaps it was something else but regardless, I was brought back to it.

Which means I was on a new hunt for a novel, and I remember watching this very movie and I became curious about the book itself. This is not a comparison of the movie, mostly because I don’t totally remember what actually happened in the movie but I will be making a review about this book, which is what you’re reading right now.

The story is about a young girl in the modern time who is sick of remembering and doesn’t understand the significance of Seder or why it even matters and definitely didn’t understand why her family acted the way they did until she opens a metaphorical door, looking for a religious figure from the Jewish religion and finds herself transported back in time to 1942 and eventually finds herself in Auschwitz after attempting to attend a wedding.

The story was detailed and explained many things, it was interesting to see how people reacted to this young girl and her attempts of telling the future and how nobody seemed to understand and I was amused by the fact that she told stories from the present time and passed them off as movies that actually existed.

But more specifically, I liked the reality of the situation. You had Riftka, who was clearly meant to be the voice of reason. She knew how to survive and she was the character placed to explain what was happening and while this is common in many novels, especially in one of these novels where things need to be explained to a degree, I felt like she genuinely belonged in the story and that she was used for more than just explanation which was refreshing.

I found myself entranced throughout the entire study, not being able to take me eyes off the text and anytime I was forced to, I would think about the novel constantly until I could come back. I wanted more to be explained, I wanted the story to be longer, I wanted the story to never end.

It entranced me until the very last word and it was absolutely fascinating, and mostly I never wanted the story to end. That story could have been three times the length and I still would have been fascinated. The way the girl’s mind worked and how the author decided to handle the fact that she was from another time and even the idea of making her incredibly sick beforehand so that her family would right it off as being sick was fascinating.

I was also surprised during many moments, especially in relation to the children. Essentially, and I don’t consider this to be a spoiler, children under the age of 14 were not allowed to live on the camp and so every time the commander came, children who were clearly incredibly younger than 14 would have to hide in the trash. The most surprising part is the fact that the guards were in on it and would even try and warn the children that they needed to hide and while nothing was done if the child was found outside of the trash, they would still try and help by warning them which was surprising. Nazis are portrayed as being fully evil, in both history and literature and yet you had this moment where Nazis were helping children survive.

A rare moment of humanity that surprised me but also pulled me into the story further.

I would have been this novel a five, as I believe it possibly deserved it but I do feel there are moments that they could have spread out. I would have loved to see a lengthened conversation between her and her Aunt Eva once she returned home and I felt that the moments right before she returned were very fast paced and could have benefited from slowing down a bit.

The Ghost in My Yard

 

I fully believe in ghosts, I would never deny that. I have a hard time believing that there is anything that could never exist, especially in relation to the afterlife. We simply do not know enough about what happens to our soul for anyone to tell me that it is not possible.

 

But there is only one time that I vividly remember thinking that there was a ghost around me, and I was admittedly at a very young age. I was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade (meaning I was 7 or 8 years old) and I lived in this very country neighborhood. Everywhere around us were woods and our closest neighbors were about 2 acres away.

 

But across from us were straight up woods with a railroad not far, and I remember that just at the entrance of the woods were these 2 long holes that seemed that I always thought looked like something had gotten stuck long ago and had since been removed. Honestly, it was probably a car because you could tell they tried to get out of the situation but it just went further in and it was a gradual thing. Like it started at one spot and got deeper throughout.

 

That sounds super weird but I don’t have any pictures and this specific location is very important to the story. Honestly, it always fascinated me that this existed. I wanted to know what caused it and none of the neighborhood kids knew what it was and neither did their parents, many of which had lived in the neighborhood since they were children themselves. They said it had always just been there and honestly, I spent a lot of time just examining it. Trying to figure it out.

 

I was admittedly a weird kid but I also had some of the weirdest experiences while I was standing there, playing in the holes or trying to fish out the frogs that had migrated over there after a storm. But I would randomly just hear my name in an unrecognizable voice, at first I would be convinced that it was my mother calling for me and I would all the way back to the house and go inside to ask if she had called for me but that was never the case.

 

Usually, it was just my name being called and after some time, I really did become convinced that there was a ghost there. After hearing about wagons, I came under the conclusion that somebody was driving a wagon and it got stuck and people passed away, mind you, I was a young kid and didn’t realize the unlikelihood of this.

 

However, it wasn’t just my name being called. Sometimes I would hear questions. Like “Do you want to play?” or something like that and each and every time, I would look around for the source of the voice only to never find it.

 

But yeah, I imagine I was probably just imagining it now. While I do believe in ghosts, I’m not so sure that this was one. But it’s the only notable story that I could think of.

Possible Costumes for Apple?

For today, I will be writing about possible halloween costumes for my ferret- Apple. I am opening up a poll for everyone to tell me what their vote is. I will announce the results in the future but make sure you fill out the contact form!

 

All of this links have been found on Etsy and I will be sharing the links with you so you can get an idea of what it may look like.


1.Rainbow Bat

I thought this was a super cute costume. A little more adorable than it is scary but he’s a ferret, he does not need to be scary!

2. Faux Leather Dragon

Apple is literally named after the Harry Potter ship; Drappe. Draco/ Apple. Draco means Apple in Latin. This almost seems like destiny and it is so cute! It should be noted that Apple would look cute in any costume though.

3. Charmander

I’m admittedly not much of a Pokemon fan but this is just the cutest thing ever.

4. Black Bat 

THE WINGS MOVE GUYS. Sorry, I just love the idea of Apple in any costume.

5. Chewbacca

I may not be a Pokemon fan but I’m definitely a Star Wars fan and I loved this the second I saw it!


#NationalMadHatterDay

What drives me mad? I felt this conversation was the only one I could have during this time. I am going to be talking about political and sensitive content in this post. However, if you fight with me about any of this. I will not approve your comments and I will likely block you.

 

It should also be noted that I do focus on rape among females in this post, I understand that the problem extends to men. I really do. I am not dense enough to not realize that men are raped as well and this disgusts me but my main focus will be women in this post. However, I will say this.

 

IT IS NEVER THE VICTIMS FAULT: REGARDLESS OF GENDER, RACE, CLOTHING, ETC.


It drives me mad when people blame the victims.satio

The girl decides to wear something just a little bit sexy, something that shows off her assets and something that if she didn’t do, somebody would likely just call her a prude anyways. It’s the girl’s fault for wearing so little.

It’s the girl’s fault for not being able to stop the guy. She should have been carrying a knife or pepper spray. She should have been stronger and not so weak to let such a man ravage her.

The girl is lying. Why would this man ever rape her? She probably just wants his money or maybe she woke up the next morning and raped her. He has no reason so she must be lying. After all, he’s claiming it was a lie.

Okay, I’m sorry. I think you get it.

It is never the victim’s fault.

Their clothes are not a decision to be raped, a decision to have something taken from you. To fear for your life as something horrible happens. A girl should not have to fear for her life simply for showing off just a little bit of skin. Instead, get this, men should be able to control themselves.

It is not the girl’s fault because she wasn’t strong enough to stop it. She shouldn’t be expected to have some ridiculous amount of strength just to save herself. She shouldn’t have to live a life of fear just because a man can not control himself.

The girl is lying? Did you know that only 2% of all rape accusations and found to be a lie? Why is the immediate assumption that it’s a lie when it’s such a rare occurrence for such a thing?

You know something that will always drive me mad?

The fact that it’s only rape when the victim is blamed.

Somebody gets robbed? The robber is to blame.

Somebody gets murdered? The murderer is blamed.

But a choice is taken away from a human? Somebody who is in pain? Somebody who may be crying and screaming no? Somebody who may be laying unmoving out of fear for their lives?

No, that’s the victim’s fault.

So, ask me what drives me mad? That drives me mad.

Paranoia. – POEM.

 

Is there somebody listening?

Have you seen the rustle of the trees?

I think somebody may be there

I know that people want to know

I know that people want to listen

I think I just saw somebody

Lurking in the woods

I know that I just saw a shadow

I don’t think my eyes are deceiving me

You’re telling me this is simply

Paranoia

But I know what I saw

My eyes weren’t deceiving me

I think I heard my name in that conversation over there

This can’t be paranoia

My eyes can not be lying to me

Why does nobody believe me?

Are they in on it too?

There’s something in those trees over there

I don’t think we’re safe anymore

I think something serious is happening

I think somebody wants to harm me

No

Don’t tell me this paranoia

This can not be paranoia

There is no way this is paranoia

My eyes are not lying to me

I can see it over there

Right there

Right now

Can’t you?

Why can’t you see it?

I know it’s there?

This isn’t paranoia

I’m not crazy

Don’t tell me I am

Why can no one else see the truth?

How can my eyes not be trustworthy?

Maybe they need to leave my body

I can’t have something I don’t trust

Maybe I can claw them out

Who cares if I can’t see?

Maybe that’s for the best

I won’t be able to see what is in the woods

And I don’t think that’s bad

Since nobody else can see.

Tips for Dating Somebody with Anxiety!

 

I would first like to begin by saying, that as someone who has anxiety, the ways that you can help me versus how you may be able to help your significant other may be drastically different. These are not bullet- proof tips for everyone in the world, but they could give you an idea of how to approach the situation. But if you really are at a loss and none of these tips are working, talk to your partner. At the end of this, I will be linking different websites discussing the same topic for those of you who do not find this article useful.

 

It is important to understand their anxiety. For everybody, the root of their anxiety can be different and for some, it may be generalized anxiety or social anxiety. Maybe their anxiety could be connected to a different issue altogether, like PTSD.

 

Things you can do to understand:

  • Get them to talk
  • Notice their triggers
  • Stay calm and kind
  • Be there for them

 

You might find them asking you questions. They might want to know when you’re driving and when you’re safe. They may ask you to reassure them and when I say this, trust me. They hate that they feel this way. They hate that they have to know that you’re okay. They hate having to ask the questions but here is something very important to understand:

 

Their brains hate them. That’s how I’ve already described it to my boyfriend. Their brains are telling them the most horrible things, reading into something out of nothing and remembering the weirdest conversations and noticing the slightest differences. They will get this vibe during conversations that something is off and they have to know what the difference is.

 

Now every time I see that Tumblr post that says, “More tips to date somebody with anxiety,” or something like that, people are always talking about the fact that some of these things are ridiculously clingy and are signs of unhealthy relationships.

 

I’ll admit that the clingy thing has merit but it’s not the sign of an unhealthy relationship. Demanding to know your locations at all times and wanting to know that you are safe are two totally different things. People with anxiety fear both of these things, they don’t want to come off as clingy and they definitely don’t want you to feel like you’re in an unhealthy relationship so if that is something that you feel or don’t like, then please don’t continue on just because you feel bad for them.

 

People with anxiety don’t want to trap you and they don’t want you to be unhappy. So please, if this is how you are feeling then don’t stay in the situation. Making this decision is hard and honestly, I have a hard time believing anybody could ever want to love me and I feel this is a common feeling among a lot of people with anxiety. If this is not something you can handle, they would likely understand.

 

But please, don’t lie to them and lead them on. Don’t tell them you can handle it when you can’t, don’t tell them that it’s okay if it’s not.

 

It’s not impossible to date somebody with anxiety but I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy. But if you’re willing to date them, then hug the beautiful person and tell them that it’s okay. Tell them that you will try and help them in anyway that you can. Tell them that you’re trying to understand and start a line of communication. Do they know their triggers? Do they know how to handle their anxiety? Do they have anything they want you to do when they’re struggling?

 

Start the conversation. That’s the most important thing.

 


Other sites that may help you!

Talkspace

Zoosk

Thought Catalog