Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but n...
|Scooped by Maddison|
July 1942, the Jew round up was in progress and was traveling from Germany to France. It starts out with this jewish family in Paris that is in the process of being taken somewhere else. The girl, Sakri (Shara), that is the highlight of the story is confused and tired, it was early/ late in the morning when she first heard the banging. The banging on the door from the police, at first she thought it was her father who had forgotten his key and was now getting impatient, but she was wrong. She heard voices, they started yelling police open up! and then she knew that something wasn't right. After her mother wakes up and the police are inside they are told to gather their things and that they have to leave. As the little girl is gathering her things her brother hides in the hidden closet, telling the sister to lock him in and that it'll be all right. So, the sister does. She locks him in the closet and promises that she will be back for him, not understanding that she wont be back...that this was the end.
Then, the next chapter switches. The chapter switches to May 2002 in Paris. with an American reporter, Miss Jarmond, as the main attraction. She is living in Paris, married, and with a family. She has a job as a reporter and her new piece is about the round up. She gets into close detail, finding things out that no one knows about. Her topic is called the Vel' d'Hiv'. Its about the round up that happened with the french police. People normally only know about the round up with the German police. As the book goes on you learn more about the struggle the girl faces while dealing with the guilt of leaving her brother and about her struggle to survive. And the reporter learns things that she would have never believed to be true about Paris.
Throughout the book it switches every chapter from child to reporter. Later in the book, Miss Jarmond, the reporter is interviewing an elder woman who had witnessed the roundup. The reporter proceeds to ask if she remembers anything and the elderly woman had reaction that the reporter wasn't expecting, "You think I don't remember, young lady? You think I have forgotten, maybe?" (Rosnay 41). With this the reporter knew that she was wrong. The woman then proceeded to tell the reporter how she had remembered the children's faces, how they looked, and how uncomfortable she felt.55
Switching from character to character each chapter happens through out the book and it helps you understand both parts of what happened, how it happened, and what it feels like to be learning a scary past and learning how the jews felt. There's nothing easy about this book, nothing light about the book. You learn that The reporter is living in the house that the jew family lived in. After that she becomes obsessed with learning everything possible. There is also another life altering instance when Miss Jarmond and her husband, Bertrand, are out to dinner for a special surprise that Miss Jarmnod is very very excited for! as it states in the book, "Yes, 'I said raising my glass.' A very special surprise. Drink up! Here's to the surprise?" You find out that she is going to have a baby and that she wants it more then the world! But Bertrand disagrees, He does not want a baby. As he says in the book "Julia. I'm going to be fifty in less than three years...I dont want to be an old father." This explains how they are not understanding each other anymore. With this happening in the book it makes you realize that not everything is going to be okay.