Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Author: Heather Morris
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5 out of 5 stars)

This is a historical fiction based on a true story of love and survival of Lale and Gita Sokolov.

Lale, using his ability to speak multiple languages, was able to secure a job as a Tätowierer or tattooist in a prison camp in Auschwitz and he was tasked to permanently ink his fellow prisoners. That is how he met Gita. He was the one who marked her numbers on her left arm. Thus, begins the love story between the two prisoners in the most unimaginable time possible.

The story is not as impactful as All The Light Cannot See and The Book Thief which are both fiction novels about the second world war. It lacks something. I feel like some, if not most, of the events could be written better. I want to feel more of the tension, the fear, the pain, and the desperation ignited by the harrowing events taking place at that time. But I felt none of that. I felt detached from the characters. It did not evoke in me emotions I thought I would feel upon reading the story. I was not able to totally connect with this book at all. I cried once, on the 32nd page. But the rest of the book just fell flat to me.

It’s not the story. It’s the way the story was told.

Lale and Gita were survivors and their resilience, compassion, love, and hope should never be taken lightly. No one will be able to tell how horrifying, how painful, and how traumatic the time they spent on the prison camp was. Theirs is a love found in such a hopeless time and place but theirs is a love which sustained them. It gave them the hope they needed to survive. And I think that that is beautiful. And it is sad that the book was not able to capture that.

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