A friend insisted I buy this book, telling me what a masterpiece it was. I was at first sceptical, and I must confess it did not grab me within the first few chapters as I had hoped that it would. The main character is a dwarf, the child of a mentally ill mother and a father disabled in World War 1, and whereas her life looked as if it would be interesting, if filled with angst, I was confident that this itself would not hold my attention for the whole of the book.
How wrong I was, becuase it is not Trudi's life that grabs you, it is the world she is living in - the horror of Germany between the wars. It is difficult to find words to describe how that world changes, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the slow and deliberate persecution of the Jews, and the terror of ordinary citizens who barely dared to question what was hapening to their lives. The story becomes shocking, unimaginable and utterly compelling. I also think that it is something that everyone should read, and I like my friend, will recommend it to everyone.
It is not an easy story to read, and Trudi, the main character is spiky and independent - not always easy to identify with. But is an important book because it also chronicles the life of everyday Germans who were caught up in unspeakable times, and it is with these characters that our sympathies lie.
I am pleased that I took my friend's recommendation. Again, not an easy read, but a picture of history that cannot be ignored. It is a truly compelling and magnificent novel.