A while ago, I think I saw this book on a list of World War two books. Or maybe it was books about women. At the time it did not seem interesting to me, so I quickly forgot it. Later I came across from it and for some reason was compelled to do an interlibrary loan request for it. I know I was not sure what it was about (okay, so the title should have given me a clue, but even then, nope. Nothing. I do have my ah, shall we say “ditzy gal” moments), but something told me that I had to have Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivors to Comic Book Pioneer.
And I guess I just needed to wait for the right time for it as Trina Robbins, Anne Timmons and Mo Oh’s book was a wonderful piece of history of a woman who with luck and her wits helped change the world in small but important ways. From Nazi Vienna to New York City, Lily had strength and heart to survive.
Lily did not have the “traditional” story of what you think would have happened. Yes, she lost family in the concentration camps, but she also never went to one, instead, she would hide in plain sight, or found ways to help herself granted by her family’s little privilege gave her. She would find little sanctuary in England, in fact would be labeled a foreign spy (somehow never entered an English internment camp) but would survive to see her family. She had trouble in the US but found her family. Her art would take her to the very places women of the time were considered to delicate to go, and with her groundbreaking comics, she would open doors for women in illustrations and comics.
If you like history, women’s history, Jewish history, or World War two history this is a great book to read. Also, if you like unique, but clever illustrations, this is the book to view. They are like the cover, simple, but detailed when needed. They are expressive, but do not take away from the text or story. They support the characters and journey you take as a reader.