Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Red Ribbon

Sometimes I steer away from Holocaust fiction because there is so much of it and sometimes it's too much to take in. It's like reading misery porn and at a certain point you have to take a breather. The Red Ribbon is a young adult novel that focuses on a little known bit of Auschwitz lore, the sewing studio. The commandant's wife is a fashionista and she decides that she  may as well put some prisoners to work crafting her stylish new outfits and tailoring her clothes. The officer's wives get jealous and soon she opens it up to them and expands the workshop. Fourteen year old, Ella lucks into working in the studio and tries to lose herself in her work so she doesn't have to observe the hellhole around her. At least she's making pretty things even if they are going to monsters. Her only other distraction is a quirky young girl named Rose who spins the most delightful stories and always seems to have her head in the clouds. Although annoyed by her at first, Ella soon realizes how important it is to have hope and keep dreaming and they soon become inseparable. Although not explicitly graphic, this book doesn't shy away from hard truths either, it's a nice middle ground that young adults can read without being "too horrified" while still being informed about atrocities.

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