Two comments about Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
- I liked it
- 2. Read it
But that is only fifteen words and I need 250.
The story follows two Jewish girls as they survive Auschwitz as their families and others perish around them. The story is told in alternating chapters between the two voices in prose poetry. Some of the poems are thoughtful, some powerful, some sweet. And some are horrifically amazing at the sensation they create.
Have you ever “seen” the smell of the furnaces ofAuschwitz ? You will. But you will also see how the littlest acts of defiance can be the greatest gestures of all. The act of finding paper (do not ask how, as sometimes it is best left unsaid) and writing messages of hope and love can be the most dangerous weapon of them all.
Based on the story of the real girls of the book, this book is not about death, it is about hope. This is not a book about the ugly of camp, but about the friendships that keep us going. This book is not a book about sadness, but about what is heartfelt.
While the focus of the story is on the Jewish women of the camp, there is some mention of the others as well. There is a hierarchy of patches on the clothing. We know the yellow star for Jew, and maybe even the pink of homosexuals, but there was the black, green, brown, and others. These would represent the “asocials,” criminals, prostitutes, political opponents, religious dissidents, the Roma, and more. Some of these people were Aryan, and given higher privileges, but all were prisoners. Some of this hierarchy is explored, but mostly we are following the journey of the Jewish prisoners.
While this book could have been dark, it does have a lighter feeling to it. Yet it is not a happy book. Sensitive readers might not be the best as it does talk about the beatings that occur, the suicides of several people, hangings, allusions to sexual favors, while also showing the odd kindness from an overseer.