Lale Sokolov is sent to Auschwitz in 1942. Soon after, he’s given the position of tattooist, forced to tattoo his fellow captives. He meets the lovely Gita and promptly falls in love.
My brief book synopsis is as deep as the historical retelling in this book. According to the book blurb, “This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.” That is the HUGE issue I had with this book. The horrific details of the Nazi concentration camps were glossed over and painfully minimized, in favor of concentrating on a silly and often unbelievable love story between Lale and Gita.
I found the story thin and frivolous. The giggling between female captives when Lale glanced at Gita was so out of place for my taste. The relationship between Lale and his “kapo” was ridiculous. Lale ruminating about whether or not his first words to Gita should be how beautiful he found her, but deciding against it due to her “shaved head and too big clothes” was insulting. This is a topic that deserves much more respect and seriousness, in my opinion.
The writing was amateurish and lacking. I didn’t find the plot or characters at all compelling. I was deeply disappointed in this book and cannot recommend it.
1 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton