Unravelled by Anna Scanlon


Unravelled

Synopsis:

"No one heard us. They decided not to, to turn their heads away. 

It was too much to bear. Too much to know. Too hard to swallow. 

But now that the world knows, now that the world has heard, it all seems so simple, so easy to defray. 

I screamed and no one heard. 

Next time, will you be listening?" 

Aliz and her twin sister, Hajna, are enjoying their playful, carefree and comfortable life with their parents in Szeged, Hungary just before the Nazis invade. Seemingly overnight, their lives change drastically as they are transported to the ghetto on the outskirts of the city and then to Auschwitz to be used in Mengele's deadly experiments. After several months of brutal torture, Aliz is liberated to find that she is the only survivor in her family. At not even 11 years old, Aliz must make the journey to San Francisco alone, an entire world away from everything she's known, in order to live with her only known relatives whom she has never met-- a depressed aunt and teenage cousin who is more than ready to escape her mother's melancholy. Told through the eyes of both Aliz and her cousin Isabelle, Unravelled tells a story of survival, hope, family and the lives war and genocide haunt long after liberation.

Review:

Unravelled was a really interesting read. It is always interesting to read something about the Holocaust while living in Germany. It just makes it more. This city has a lot of information about the atrocities that happened and to be surrounded by that and reading a book about them just intensifies it for me. Makes it more impactful since I am surrounded by it. 

At first this book was not that bad, not that hard to read. The events are terrible, but it is not written in a way that made me feel as much if that makes sense. Aliz and her family live in Hungary and she is quite young when the Germans invade. They are forced to move to the ghetto and things just keep changing until one night they are put on a train with so many others. They arrive at Auschwitz days later, hungry, tired, broken. This is where the story really became heartbreaking. Aliz and her twin are singled out and placed in a bunkhouse with other twins. They don't have to work like the others, they get more food than the others, but every few days their numbers are called and they must go get experimented on. It wasn't even described in that much detail or anything, but it was just horrible imagining what it must have been like. I guess I did know they the Nazis did things like this, but I had forgotten. Really this book is fiction, but it has suggestions for non-fiction books about the twin experiments written by one of those who went through it and I really would like to read her story. It will he heartbreaking and hard to read, but worthwhile. 

Aliz manages to make it through the war, but her family does not. The only family she knows is in San Francisco, but she doesn't really know them. The second part of the book was told from her cousin Isabelle's point of view. It starts shortly before Aliz shows up at their house and I loved this section. Seeing how people try to deal with living through something so horrible is not something I read about often. Seeing the effects, how Aliz tries to cope, was just heartbreaking. Seeing how other reacted to her and her situation, especially since it is a few years after the war, was so sad. Isabelle is so kind to her, tries to help Aliz however she can. 

This book was hard to read at times, but it also seems to be softened a bit so it is not as difficult. A really great read. It made me think about aspects of the war I never really thought about. I will be checking out some of the non-fiction books the author recommended at the end. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

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