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.

This Time Last Year.

A year ago feels like a lifetime ago if you want me to be honest, I was in a serious depression and I was losing my mind, it felt like.  I didn’t want to do anything besides write which in some ways was a good thing, I had published my second novel last October and it’s officially been a year since I’ve written anything. I wrote my first novel in June of 2016 and my second novel in October of 2017.

 

But now it’s October of 2017 and the most I’ve done is work on this blog and even then, I’ve done pretty shitty work with that.

 

I was talking about the kind of relationship I wanted, and I found it. Check off all of the boxes or put all of those personality traits and actions that I desired and put into one man and I have found him. He is my best friend and the love of my life and I am so thankful for him.

 

I am a graduated high school student and going to the University of my dreams. The same school that I visited in Freshman year and have dreamed about going since.

 

Life is better honestly, but in some ways. I don’t feel better about myself. I feel lost and unproductive and just… not living the life I want to live and I want to make a change but I don’t know where that change needs to happen.

 

Maybe doing this challenge will help…

 

See you tomorrow.

My Roommate for a Week?!

 

So I mentioned in the Emotional Support Animal Journey that I briefly had a roommate and I really just wanted to tell that story because I think it is so funny that this happened.

 

Before I begin telling this story, I am going to preface this story by explaining that we actually don’t have any bad blood. She seems pretty cool and while admittedly, she’s not exactly my kind of person to hang out with, I wish her luck in her journey.

 

Before moving in, she had actually reached out to me through Email and introduced herself or whatever and I sent a really long email in return, explaining things about me and Apple because I was not aware if she knew or not (they do eventually reach out to your roommate but they don’t explain why you have him and I wanted to explain that!)

 

She seemed pretty cool but I did immediately notice that we weren’t exactly similar in any way. She was a bit of a partier and definitely a social person which was made very apparent early on. There is nothing wrong with that, I literally don’t care but I just wanted to explain the situation.

 

I was admittedly surprised that we had been paired together, as we take a roommate quiz about our personalities and we were complete opposites. She hated the cold and wanted to change the temperature in our room the second she arrived to medium rather than high, which is fine and she didn’t mind that I used a fan but I was still really surprised that we had been paired together.

 

So she moved in on the 24th of August, I moved in on the 17th because of Thrive so I had the room to myself for an entire week. I had hung out in the room all day waiting for her because I didn’t want our interaction to be weird or anything and we talked while she unpacked and I met her parents. They made a lot of comments about the room being small, which is true because I am almost entirely sure that the room was originally a single that was turned into a double but it wasn’t my fault.

 

After that, we separated and didn’t really see each other for the rest of the day. We would see each other for brief moments but not for very long and it was pretty awkward in general. But for the most part, she was never in the room which is very, very different to me because I am almost always in the room but I actually really liked it. I got some alone time in the room which was very much needed and Apple got plenty of time out of the cage without me having to worry about it.

 

The only issue that came up was sometimes during the week, she lost her key so I kept having to let her borrow the key to get into the room and I would have to wake up to let her inside the room. Kind of annoying simply because I thought it was super inconsiderate, like you lost your key and I get that you don’t have time to look for it but are you really going to come in at 2am when this is happening?

 

Mind you, the situation didn’t last very long and on the 29th, she sent me a text explaining that she was moving out into another building because she loved the rooms, the showers, etc, etc. I was actually super excited because at this point, she had lost her key a few times and I had been letting her borrow my key meaning I would have to track her down whenever I wanted to get into the room myself.

 

Later that day, she started moving her stuff out of the room and I was actually leaving for the weekend so I told her she could borrow my key while I was gone to get the rest of her stuff out of the room. Mind you, she was supposed to have all out of it gone by the 31st but I figured I’d be nice and give her some extra time since she joined a sports team and was super busy.

 

You would think that if I gave you TWO extra days where you didn’t have to WORRY about me AT ALL then you would get all of the shit of the room? Well, you would think but then you would be wrong.

 

I came back around dinner time on Sunday and she had some of her stuff out of the room but there was still some stuff there and she gave me the key and explained she would get it out later that day.

 

Later that day… It didn’t happen. She never showed up.

 

She finally came either Tuesday or Wednesday and got the last of her stuff. So she lived in the room from the 24th to 29th (5 days) and then got her stuff out of the room on the 4th or 5th of September. (7 days later).

 

So yeah, that happened. My roommate that lasted for about two weeks if you include the time during where my room simply housed her stuff.

 

But hey, on a good note, I actually am getting a new roommate soon! She’s my best friend here on campus and one of my best friends in general so I’m really excited about that and BONUS? SHE LOVES APPLE.

Top 5 Vegan YouTubers

 

I have never been a YouTuber, save for a short time where I posted cringy videos that were way too long and essentially unedited until I ultimately deleted them and traded YouTube for this blog.

 

But I have been obsessed with YouTube for years and YouTube is what really inspired me to make the decision to go vegan and I really just wanted to share with you the five people who I adore and made me feel confident about a decision that changed my entire life but I don’t regret even a moment of it.

 

* ON A SIDE NOTE, I MOVED INTO MY DORM ON THE 17TH SO BE READY FOR THOSE POSTS IN THE COMING WEEKS!

1. Kalel

 

Kalel is an amazing YouTuber who has made me feel better about veganism all of the time. There are moments of accidents, where you accidentally eat something that has milk or eggs in it. There are moments of incidents where you order food at a restaurant and they put cheese in it even though you asked them not to.

 

In a video that she posted recently (I’m Not Really a Vegan? 4/5) , she talks about percentage. Where she cut out foods but still owned purses and leather. She talked about being a certain percentage of being a vegan and it meant a lot to me that she did this. I only went vegan recently and I’ll admit that I’m more plant based diet than I am anything right now. I want to go vegan where I take out leather, cotton clothing and items.

 

Not only does she talk about the struggles of being a vegan, she talks about becoming a healthy vegan, posts what I ate in a day, and even talks about vegan foods you must buy. There are two people on this list that convinced me to go Vegan when I began debating it and she was the other one. I realized that I wasn’t saying goodbye to good food, I was just changing what I ate and I was making a more conscious decision about what I was doing.

 

Vegan Food You Must Try

I almost ate beef?

 

2. SweetPotatoSoul

 

SweetPotatoSoul is the other person that convinced me to go vegan when I was doing research. Her entire YouTube is filled with amazing recipes of vegan Cinnamon Rolls and food during Thanksgiving. She talks about what you can make with a certain amount of food such as 30 dollars or whatever else.

 

When it comes to being a vegan, there is this huge myth that veganism is both expensive and just eating lettuce but that’s just not the truth. It’s possible and while vegan food at restaurants tend to lean towards the more expensive side, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

 

Vegan Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

How to Veganize Anything

Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad

Cheap Vegan Meals for $30

 

3. The Vegan View

 

The Vegan View is a group of girls talking about everything that has to do with veganism. They taste test vegan foods, talk about veganism as a culture, and even why vegan’s don’t eat different things.

 

The Vegan View was found around the time that I actually went vegan, and it allowed me to see the point of view of different reasons why vegans didn’t eat something. I enjoyed seeing multiple different opinions and I realized that no vegan is the exact same which I really appreciate.

 

Why Vegans Don’t Eat Fish?

6 Vegan Comebacks You Need to Know

Is VEGAN Fashion Actually Ethical?

 

4. Margot Lee

Margot Lee may be specified for college students when it comes to the vegan community online. I had actually started watching her YouTube videos about college when I noticed that all of her meals were vegan and I got really curious until I realized that she was actually a vegan.

 

She makes you feel like you can actually be a vegan at University, and it’s pretty nice to see somebody in college life being able to succeed as a vegan on nutrition basis.

 

What I Eat in a Day (Vegan + At Home)

What I Eat in a Day (VEGAN- ON- THE GO)

Vegan What I Eat in a Day at College

 

I don’t know if it’s obvious yet but I am OBSESSED with ‘What I Eat in a Day’ videos.

 

5. Pick Up Limes

 

I’ve always liked her videos, as she makes you feel confident about your life and your decisions. She shows you vegan foods and how to videos which is something that I will forever adore.

 

On top of that, if you’re looking into becoming a vegan, I highly suggest checking her out. Not only does she talk about insanely important things when you’re considering veganism, but she also has really easy vegan recipes that I highly suggest looking into.

 

Vegan Nutrition Basics

Pantry Essentials

Beginner’s Guide to Veganism

 


 

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Their Best Friend – POEM

WARNING: If you are struggling in any way with suicide, suicidal thoughts, or self- harm then please click out of this. This will be triggering and emotional for some people and if you’re not in the place where you can deal with those things then please click out of this poem.

 

SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE – 1-800-273-8255.

 

If you are at the point where you are seriously thinking about it, or even if it has even been a thought that has crossed your mind, please consider calling the number above. It is open 24/7 and they will talk to you about what you’re feeling and talk you out of it. I urge you to call the phone number.

 


 

It’s those words

Those words you never thought you would hear

You might not have even known what it was

When you first heard them

I know I didn’t

 

You think the first time will be the only time

When they are crying their eyes out

And they look at you and admit something that scares even themselves

 

You think you’re strong enough to help them

Maybe you even are

You take away their best friend

 

You’re naive to think that it will be enough

You think they wont find another best friend

You’re naive enough until you notice they are hiding their wrists

That they wince when you grab their arm in a certain way

 

You begin noticing the growing amounts of rubber bands branding their wrists

They are cool enough to be tricked into thinking that they are just an accessory

But I’ve come to notice them from across the room

And every time, I notice the same things

 

The wince

The nervousness

The depression

The secrets

The lies that are growing every single time you’ve talked to them

 

The second person comes to you and you want to help

You always want to help

That will never change

But your idea of helping begins to change

 

You make them show their wrists to you every single day

You’ll find an abandoned corridor at some point in the day

They’ll show you their wrists and all you will see are the scars

The scars that tell you everything that has happened to them

 

You don’t think to realize they are cutting somewhere else

Somewhere less noticeable

Somewhere that isn’t touched as often

Whether it’s their thighs or stomach

 

The third person comes and you’ve seen enough loss to last you a lifetime

You wonder if actually going to somebody will make a difference

You wonder if it would be a good idea

Then you notice blood leaking from under their bracelets

And you freak out, you hyperventilate

You end up in the school bathroom for hours on end

 

A teacher comes to find you at some point

Reprimands you for skipping

Even though they see the tears running down your face

And you find your opening

You’re staring at this teacher

You’re aware that you’re about to lose your friend

But you think that it has to be better than the loss forever

 

They survive

The survivor in your story of growing lists of people who have passed away

You lose them but that doesn’t surprise you

At least you get to see them alive

You seem them happy with other people

That’s all that really matters at this point

 

Then you get those words again

Those words of admittance

You’ve been ignoring the signs

The bracelets

You think they have to be decoration

 

You wonder if they are just flocking to you at this point

You wonder what it’s like

There has to be a reason why everyone is doing this

Why everyone you come to care about ends up saying those words

 

You make your own best friend

Nothing special

You hope nobody notices

And you’ve experienced enough to know what to avoid.

You make the first cut

The stinging is all you can think about

You wonder how they could ever do such a thing

 

You leave it alone

Clean up

Stop the bleeding

Then you leave your best friend in a hidden spot

You don’t think you’ll ever do it again

 

Until you find yourself craving that stinging pain

The realization of what you’re wanting to do

It’s terrifying because you know the harms

There is no believing that the blood dripping from your wrists is healthy.

 


 

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Check out more posts like this!

The Book That Tells You Who I Was and Who I Am

Broken Smile

Dear Boy Who Passed Away…

The Changes in My Life…

 

Hello guys!

 

So, it’s been a while since I’ve uploaded something so I’m gonna make my return by explaining the changes that have made in my life. These changes will be the focus of topics for the next coming weeks so I hope you enjoy this and that you find some interest as I will be mostly working on these things.

 

First, I went Vegan!

 

I will definitely be explaining the reason behind why I did this, the changes that have occurred in my body, and my life since this decision but I definitely don’t regret it. It’s been an amazing experience that I am still enjoying to this day.

 

Second, I went to Carolina Rebellion.

 

This is not a topic that I will discuss too much more on this site but I would love to make a post about my experience there and what it is in general. I had so much fun though!

 

Third, I went to New York City!

 

I had been in New York only once before, but it was a very small city and was nothing compared to New York City. I will definitely be sharing plenty of my experience in New York City and what it was like to be a VEGAN in New York!

 

Fourth, I am now in a relationship.

 

In time, I definitely plan on posting more about this relationship and our love story but I really wanted to share this now because I know that many of you have been here with me since day one, when I was going through a fresh break- up and I have even shared some of my dating experiences on here so I thought you guys definitely deserved this piece of information. Until I get around to it, I am slowly posting pictures on my Instagram so feel free to follow me so that you can at least see pictures until then! AND NO, I DID NOT MEET HIM ON DATING SITES. @sheswritingmore)

 

Until then, please check out these other posts. Many of these things are completely new for me so most of them will be related to relationships and even my break- up saga.

 

This is in order of when I posted it, meaning the break – up playlist was more than a year ago while Online Dating was about 2 months ago. Love you guys! 

 


 

The Break-Up Playlist

10 Things to Do After a Break Up

Dear Ex Letter

Dear Future Husband

What SUCKS About Having a Crush

What’s AWESOME about Having a Crush

Give Your Girl Her Favorite Flower NOT Roses

My Dream Guy? 

I Am Not Ready to Date… Yet

This is For the Single Ladies

Does True Love Exist?

Embarrassing First “Relationship” Story!

Unrequited Crushes

What Kind of Relationship Do I Want?

My Worst “French” Kiss Story

First Date Rule: Do Not Ride in His Car!

Online Dating (Tinder, OkCupid, Hot or Not)