I cringe rating a historical fiction novel based on a harrowing true story about compassion and bravery from the Holocaust anything less than 5/5, but alas, here we are.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz recounts the life of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish man that was sent to Auschwitz who became the person to tattoo the arms of thousands of fellow prisoners. Based on countless interviews, Morris tells the story of a man who endured the horrors of a death camp, who survived despite the odds and who was able to find love in the midst of unimaginable evil.
This book should have been one of those tear-jerking -impossible-to-put-down kind of reads, but it fell short. The story of Sokolov’s life in and of itself is beautiful and unforgettable, a story that truly deserves to be shared with the world as it demonstrates how innate human goodness and the ability to love and be selfless can persevere even under the darkest conditions.
I will admit that I am a book snob; if a book is not well written, I will struggle to finish it and more often than not I will put it down. The author’s writing style led the book to be surface level; Morris depends on dialogue to build and develop characters and scenes, and does a poor job of painting a picture that captures all of all of the emotions, pain and trauma that humans in concentration camps faced. This left the story somehow feeling ingenuine and because of that, it failed to evoke emotion from me as a reader. I have read a number of WWII books and this one was by far the least moving. Rather than getting lost in the words I felt disappointed and distracted, wishing someone else had the privilege of bringing this man’s story to existence.
After conducting a little research, I found out that not only is there controversy surrounding the novel’s authenticity but that Heather Morris is a screen writer; suddenly the two-dimensional story I had read made a lot more sense.
Reviewed by: Christy (Contributor)