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Emily Robson , Sutton Girls

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea - Review

This is a clever and thought-provoking book told by four characters whose lives interweave and connect in the Baltic area during World War Two. Before reading this book, I had only previously read about those that had suffered under the Nazis but this novel helped me see that there was just as much death and destruction on the German side - innocent people such as, the kind "Shoe Poet," Ingrid the perceptive blind girl and the troubled refugees who hoped to find a quiet place in Germany but didn't get there.

My favourite character, Alfred, was a sailor who helped run the boat - "The Wilhelm Gustloff". Described by Florian as a 'sociopath in training', Alfred was one of the most unique characters as his deluded personality and difficult childhood was interesting to read about. Despite his job on the ship of being the "Matrose", which was the lowest rank available, he ignored this, and told himself that he was close to earning a medal for his contribution towards the war effort. Alfred considered everyone as lowly and unimportant compared to himself ,except for the F├╝hrer (Hitler) whom he adored. It showed me how much young people, like him, were brainwashed so that they hung onto the words of a man who acted inhumanely. Alfred was quite a chilling character, who sometimes made me shiver.

I also learnt that the Poles were not only persecuted by Hitler, but by Stalin as well. This made me feel very sorry for people in Poland at that point in History and meant that I found out something new. The use of statistics and historical facts incorporated through the characters' thoughts made it an enjoyable and informative read.

I especially liked the structure of this book. A character's name would reveal from whose perspective it was which helped you to focus on their traits and the ideas that they had about different individuals. The narration was passed between characters and they shared a similar format to the opening of their story such as, "Shame is a hunter" or "Guilt is a hunter," which linked effectively to the end of the book by making it feel complete and well rounded.

I believe this book's purpose was to reveal how people from the Baltic area suffered, even if they did not agree with what Hitler was doing. It is important to realise that just as Hitler discriminated against certain groups, it is important for us to not be discriminatory to people, just because they are from Germany, as, during the war - everyone, from all sides, fell on hard times.

By Emily Robson 8L/CMA

Posted on: 25th April 2017 at 07:12 pm

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