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In search for a new book that would open my mind and bring with it a new perspective on life, I stumbled across The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I read the blurb and upon discovering that it was a love story, I knew that this would be one incredible romance. A romance that could spark within the worse death camp in history, would sure be interesting to read. Would they both survive? What if only one survived? I had to read it.

When I began to read this novel I had some basic understanding of what went on at Auschwitz, who the prisoners were etc. However, no documentary or history book could have prepared me for reading a true account of a prisoners experience. Automatically assuming that the tattooist of Auschwitz would be a German guard, I suddenly realised what the prisoners had to do to survive in this hell.

Documentaries about the holocaust and text books cover the facts alone. In my opinion, the victims of Auschwitz become a statistic and we never really get to slightly comprehend what it must have been like for them. Heather Morris sophisticatedly writes Lale Sokolov’s story in a way which brings light to the emotional and psychological struggle these innocent people experienced. Morris conveys the moral struggle that Lale faced having to ‘defile’ other prisoners bodies in order to stand a better chance of survival. He would tattoo hundreds (maybe even thousands) of new prisoners with their numbers, which would become their identity to the guards during their stay at Auschwitz. Being given an insight into Lale’s state of mind, it is hard to even comprehend the horrific acts against humanity which took place here.

Any true story written about the holocaust needs to be read and then read again. It is extremely important that we, as humanity, do not forget about what happened so that it will never happen again. There is one moment that stood out to me in this book, which I think I will always remember. (If you have not read this book then this is a spoiler alert). At the end of the novel, Lale and Gita’s son writes a tribute to his parents. In this, he writes about a time after his parents had just found out their business was going bankrupt. That evening, he saw his mum dancing and singing around with happiness. Surprised by this, Gary asked his mother how she could be so happy, given the circumstances. She replied that after experiencing what she did at Auschwitz, every day was a gift, the business failing didn’t require her to be unhappy.

I think this is an important life lesson to learn. When times are tough, you should remember there is always someone out there that’s had it worse. We should smile every day because every day is one to be grateful for. For this reason alone, I think The Tattooist of Auschwitz should be read by everyone.

 

When I first heard that PsychoTraveller, my favourite YouTuber, was releasing her own book I knew that I was to read it straight away. I have followed Aly’s adventures for years and she even inspired me to create my own travel blog. 15 year old me would catch up on her videos after school and would always watch on with excitement for my own travels I knew I’d embark on. Where is she?: Travel to Trauma: One Woman’s Journey To Completely Losing Herself left me speechless with both sadness and frustration. However, because of the incredible woman Alyshia Ford is, the book takes you on a journey of incredible strength and courage.

In the initial few chapters of this book I found myself reading with excitement. She was headed off to embark on her one year working holiday visa in Australia. Living the dream, she soon began to experience the typical life of a backpacker. Meeting new friends, budgeting and exploring this amazing country. I read in envy at her experiences; from raising a baby lamb, to meeting real aboriginal people. On top of this, her writing style is very comical at parts – she described brilliants moments such as when a tour guide told her he ‘didn’t think’ there’d be crocodiles in a lake she was advised to wash in.

The title of Psychotraveller’s book reads, ‘One Woman’s Journey To completely Losing Herself’.  Initially I had assumed that by ‘losing herself’ she meant she was physically losing herself in the big world wide. I found I was wrong and by ‘losing herself’ she meant how she had to find who she was again after she experienced a horrific event. This book takes you on her road to recovery. I thought I knew her just from watching her on YouTube, and this book has taught me that you can never truly know someone in front of the camera. Aly is incredibly brave for sharing her story and I honestly believe this book is a service to society and can help so many people.

I first began reading Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman a few months ago. I used it to past the time on my commute to work, but alas, university was stressful, and I felt guilty for reading anything other than boring journal articles. Once I began to read it again this week, it was completed in two days. I just could not put it down. Dealing with themes of loneliness, the importance of friendship, abuse (both physical and mental) and alcoholism, this book has you both running for the tissues one page and then smiling the next.

DISCLOSURE: This article will contain spoilers, read on at your own risk!