Night Review

By | January 25, 2011

By: Elie Wiesel

Paige’s Rating: (5) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: Non-Fiction/Memoir Readers

Elie Wiesel was a teenage when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is a terrifying record of Elie Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the evils of man.

Holla! I originally read this book in 2005 but loved it so much I bought it and brought it to Turkey. Since my book supply has been low, I decided to read it again. I must warn you that you should not start reading this book unless you have a free day or hours on your hands. The book, itself, is only 115 pages and so it reads quickly and most people who start the book don’t even put it down until the end. This was my case as well; I finished it in four hours. Why?

The books starts in a small town in Hungary, the way normal life was like for all people alike, including Jews. Then a foreign Jew of Hungary, Moishe, is taken away to Poland with other foreign Jews to be executed. He miraculously survives and escapes back to Hungary to warn the Jews of the impending doom—but no one listens or believes. You keep reading because you know what will happen to these happy families and it makes you ill to watch them justify the restrictions Germans put on them until it is too late.

You already know the characters and the basic plot, but it is always gripping. They are taken to concentration camps, divided from their families, and you keep reading because you know that this writer somehow manages to survive something horrific and you don’t know how it is possible. There are thousands of short, appalling stories rolled into this book, and you keep reading because it’s so unbelievable that this actually happened to humans.
Of course, the saddest part of the book is not the many deaths, but the single death of the author’s innocence and faith. The transition from a boy to man, from a human to an animal, is frightening. I have been lucky to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and have listened to a Holocaust survivor recall his experiences as well. While both gave a picture of the evils of the Holocaust, reading this book is even more sobering and chilling. The author gives a very clear and distinct picture of not only the actions, but the emotions surrounding this “God-less” time in history.

Highly suggested for everyone to read, to be reminded not only about what humanity once did, but to be reminded about where humanity can always return to: night.

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