To save her best friend from the horrors of Nazi Germany, an invisible girl must embark on an utterly unforgettable journey of redemption and revenge. The Vanishing is fierce and loving, devastating and compelling, a breathtaking blend of history, fiction, and magical realism.
This book was kindly provided for review by the author. Thank you!
Trigger Warnings: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitic remarks, rape, human death, animal death, child abuse.
Life has been pretty good for young Sophie Siegel. While it’s true she and her parents have had to move a handful of times in the last few years, things haven’t been all bad. She’s become a better student and has made a few friends – including the little boy next door.
One December morning Sophie wakes to find her mother sewing a yellow star on to all of their clothes. Sophie initially refuses, somehow knowing wearing the star represents a turning point for her and for the other Jews in the city where she lives. And she is not wrong because shortly thereafter Sophie’s world is turned upside down.
Many times when an author writes a fictional story set during World War 2 and specifically makes mention of the Holocaust, they tend to water the truth down some. In an effort to make the subject matter more palatable certain truths are glossed over. In David Michael Slater’s The Vanishing, the opposite happens. Slater does not shy away from the cruelty that was acted upon the Jewish people during this time. He does not gloss over the sadistic acts and instead lays them bare. Through Sophie’s young eyes we are given a first hand account of this horrible time.
Reading The Vanishing is by no means easy. Though the book itself is just shy of 200 pages, it is the content matter that can cause difficulties. Normally I would be able to read such a book in a day or two but I found myself having to put the book down on several occasions just to ground myself. To settle the anger and despair that bubbled in my own chest at the travesties that occurred over 75 years ago.
The Vanishing is one of those books that I believe everyone should read but it is also very difficult to recommend. It is a remarkable and very well written book but it also one that is gut wrenching and at times hard to read. It is sweet and sad, breath-taking and heart-breaking. It is a book that will stay with the reader long after they have gotten to the last page.