First book of 2012

Today was a cold, gray day and I had no intentions of going out. I needed a day of rest anyway. And it turned out to be a pretty nice day. The husband surprised me with two slices of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (which I had been craving) and the baby did all kinds of kicks and punches throughout the day, which amuses me still. And I finished this book. Actually, I couldn’t put it down. Throughout history, people have done terrible things to each other. Sadly, we never seem to learn from those mistakes. “Between Shades of Gray” is told from 15 year old Lena’s point of view, as her family is torn from their homes and taken to Siberia, where they are treated as criminals during Stalin’s reign of terror. The key to their survival is staying together and doing what they can to hold on to their humanity, no matter how they are treated. Lena is an artist and pours out her anger and sadness into her drawings. It is an expression of her thoughts but also a means to remember everything, in hopes that what happened there will never be forgotten. The characters are fictional but the horrors are real. What scares me is that history tells us there will always be people with the capacity to hate, the desire to annihilate, and the means to kill millions of people. What amazes me is people’s ability to hold onto hope through the most hopeless situations.

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