Monday, October 26, 2009

Review of NIGHT

NIGHT by Elie Wiesel
Publisher: Bantam Books (1960)
Reading Level: Young Adult

For the record, I never planned on this being this long! 

My English 10 honors class was assigned to read this book a couple weeks ago. It is shorter than all the other novels we have read, but the most powerful one in my opinion. This a a non-fiction story where Elie Wiesel talks about his time in concentration and death camps during the Holocaust. This book is a must read. It isn't long at all, around 80 pages in fact, but it really makes you think about life and what the Jewish people went through. 

Elie Wiesel and his family are from little town Sighet, Transylvania. Elie, the voice of the books, starts of describe Moshe the Beadle, who was this kind and gentle soul that everyone liked. He takes care of the town's synagogue at night, offered others comfort and found great happiness in his religion. Now, by this time it is the start of WWII. Moshe the Beadle, before anyone else in the town, was taken away first because he is a foreign Jew (meaning he was a Jew from a different country,) but he manages to escape and comes back months later. Instead of the once happy person he was, he has become a person filled with sorrow. He tries telling the town the horrors he saw at the camps, but no one dare believes him. They all think he's gone crazy.

However, they learn that wasn't the case. The Nazi's quickly entered the town and strip the Jews of their laws and they are soon placed into Ghettos. Eventually, they are all hauled up into the little trains and are taken away to the concentration camps. When they get to Auschwitz, Elie's mother and his sisters are almost immediately sent to be burned to death. Elie lies about his age (now 15) to be able to stay with his father. Through the course of the many, many months of going to different concentration camps, they must face selection (where the Nazi doctor determine who lived and who died,) being malnourished, very bad health, and so many other unimaginable things. 

There were a couple things that just really stood out to me. The first was when Elie -who was in the little hospital ward at the time for an injured foot- and his father made the choice to go with the others to the next concentration camp instead of staying with the people in the hospital who were too ill to move. Elie and his father thought they would be killed if they had stay. They learn that those who had stayed behind had been liberated. That just broke my heart. Of course, how were they supposed to know that. Another thing that stood out to me was when Elie loses faith in his religion. With all that is going on, Elie can't believe that his God could let something like this occur. 

Reading through his experiences at the concentration camps create so many feelings at once. Mostly heartache for him and his family and for what MILLIONS of people had to endured during the Holocaust. You find out that one of the reasons the book is called Night is because that is the time when Elie and all the others would be forced to get up and go to the next camp, and it is one of the things he remembers most. 

This is a phenomenal and moving book and I'd would suggest it, if you want to learn more about the Holocaust. 

** I'd like to mention that the edition of the book that we read from, is a different cover from the image on the left. And also the edition we had had about 100 extra pages with other stories on the Holocaust. 


ladystorm said...

I have not read this book but I remember Oprah talking about it one day when I was watching her show I believe it was one of her book club

Sounds good, I am not big on non-fiction but now and then I find someting of interest.

Phil said...

This book is AMAZING! One of the biggest eye-opener books I've ever read. Love your review.

book weirdo said...

I really thought this book was great and I have to say it made me cry. great review

Rebecca :) said...

This is a very powerful and emotionally charged book. I read it once and had to keep the book for my collection because I knew I would read it again. It deserves a place right up there with The Diary of Anne Frank. Great review.