In my years in public and religious school, I have read my fair share of Holocaust literature…but nothing has ever hit me quite like Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night.
In this slim and terrifying book, Wiesel recounts the horrors he and his loved ones had to endure in the “genocidal campaign” that ultimately robbed him of his family. On top of the physical torture, Wiesel—a religious boy from birth—finds himself questioning his own beliefs. Why would G/d do this to us? What is he trying to tell us? What did we do to deserve this treatment? All these thoughts and more continuously swim around the head of this young boy as he tries so hard to accept the Holocaust as a challenge, a test, if nothing more than to convince himself that G/d really does exist.
What Night lacks in girth it makes up for in raw power. This book will stay with you for a long time. The anger you’ll feel, the hurt, will resonate. If I had my way, Night would replace The Diary of Anne Frank as the traditional Holocaust required reading of the public school system. This is the truest most honest account I have ever read…and unfortunately is probably a common enough story where any survivor could insert their name and the outcome would be the same.
Perhaps the most challenging part of Wiesel’s journey, and the journey of all the survivors for that matter, is how to move on. How to reconnect with G/d, how to learn to love and accept people, and perhaps most importantly, how to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
NEXT WEEK: Okay, I admit it. I HATED Moby Dick. I don’t care that it’s on everyone’s top ten list of classic literature. I hated it. But the story that spawned the classic tale of the white whale…now, that’s a crazy read…
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.