Monday, September 21, 2009
Weeds Like Us--A Book Worth Reading
I've just finished a new book that came to the library as a gift. Hopefully, we will buy more of them...enough to make them required reading for every student. The book is just that good. It's called Weeds Like Us.
Gunter Nitsch, in the simple style and language of a young boy, relates the events of his life beginning with the closing year of World War II. He lived in Germany--in the province once known as Prussia--when the war ended and the Russians invaded. Not allowed to flee to Germany, Guntar's family was caught in a deadly trap. Since their sons-in-law were fighting in Germany, Opa and Oma, the grandparents, determined to keep their two daughters and seven grandchildren alive and sane in the middle of a terrible situation. Their faith, love, and endurance; the women's self-sacrificial intrepidity, and even the children's labor and diligence, played a huge part in Gunter's survival and character development. The horrors of those refugee years are interspersed with accounts of his youthful mischief, and we see not only through his eyes, but past what he could understand at the time to the courage of the people in his life. Every teen-ager who has always had food to eat and a warm place to sleep needs to read this book, especially if said teen complains about his or her pampered life.
The author does include some graphic situations, but compared to the brutality of what actually went on in that part of the world, they are presented as gently as possible. The holocaust is not ignored (at one point the Grandfather has to re-bury victims and realizes that the atrocities were committed by his own countrymen. He is stricken with a sad, haunted, horror)but most of the book centers on the Communist takeover and their treatment of those left in the occupied lands. German, Russian, Jew--their hardships are not ignored...neither is the evil in the heart of man, nor the goodness found in unexpected people.
Read the book. You will see what I mean.