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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If I Should Die Before I Wake

*short review*

Han Nolan
Published 1994
293 Pages
Rating: B+

If I Should Die Before I Wake
Hilary hates Jews.
As part of a neo-Nazi gang in her town, she's finally found a sense of belonging. But when she's critically injured in an accident, everything changes.
Lying neat death in a Jewish hospital, Hilary finds herself bombarded by memories of life in Poland. A life she never lived. Somehow, Hilary has become Chana, a Jewish girl fighting for her own life in World War II
Forced from their home by the Nazi's, Chana and her family struggle in the terrible Lodz ghetto, where starvation drives people to desperate acts and the streets are smeared with filth. Those strong enough to survive are shipped out - to the slaughterhouse at Auschwitz.
How can Chana - or Hilary - survive?
(taken from back of book)

I have read a number of books specifically on the Holocaust, so reading about the torture and the horrible things these people had to go through was nothing new to me. Yet even as I read it, I still got chills every time Hilary/Chana would describe some horrible act. This book didn’t go into much detail about the torture the Jews faced in the camps, at least not compared to pervious books I have read, but if you know anything about the Holocaust and what the Jews faced everyday of their lives, you know it was a terrible time for all of them. Chana's story is heartbreaking and moving. Her family is ripped apart one family member at a time. Some leave and some die. Going back and forth through Hilary, who is a neo-Nazi and Chana, who is a Jew, is extremely interesting. The relationship that grows between them is one to learn from and to take to heart. Just because someone doesn’t think the same way as you, and doesn’t have the same feelings towards something as yourself, doesn’t mean they aren't important or that they don’t have feelings.

For some this book will be hard to read since it deals with the Holocaust and for others this book won’t seem like anything, like it’s just a normal book. And if you do read this, I hope you get something out of it. We are all different, and we all have our own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we cant live in harmony, it just takes work.


p.s. read Briana's review on this also.


  1. Wow--that sounds like an amazing and really tough read.

  2. I loved this book! And I agree with your review. Like you, when I read this book, it was nothing new to me. My interest in the Holocaust truly began when I was in seventh grade and I had to read I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson for Discovery. You should totally read it if you haven't yet. Plus it is a true story.


  3. Briana: I have never heard of that book, I will add it to my TBR list. I enjoy reading books about the Holocaust. That sounds wrong, but I like learning about history and I think the Holocaust is a fascinating subject. thanks! :)


  4. The cover is so striking. Great review, seriously.


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