This book was so intensely heartbreaking. At one point I was listening to it walking around my neighborhood park sobbing. There are some less terrible moments, but they’re followed up with unending sadness and despair. My best friend recommended it to me, and it really is a well written book. I could not finish it though because it made me so freaking sad. She told me it was worth it and I should give it another try, so we’ll see if it makes it back onto my pile in the future.
In the beginning we meet Cilka. She was a sixteen year old when she went to Auschwitz. It’s of course terrible there and many atrocities are committed. Cilka survived because an officer thought she was pretty and basically made her part of his harem. She does what she has to to survive, and eventually the camp is liberated. Unfortunately she’s charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp.
Cilka tries to be her best self, but someone is blackmailing her for her “crimes”, her mother is eventually found in the camp too, but she’s dying, she’s forced to be basically a prostitute to survive again, and she eventually sees how babies are treated in the camp. I think that may have been the part where I was sobbing. Every time things started to look up, they’d be smashed to bits again. I just couldn’t take the despair this book made me feel. This is apparently a series too, so maybe I will try again one day. Just be prepared to be really really sad if you read this.