Sunday, May 29, 2011
This book is about a well known time in history but about a virtually unknown event that has been hidden and covered up for over 60 years. Lithuania disappeared from the world map in 1941 and didn't reappear until 1990. Lithuania during World War II was situated between two evil giants vying for world domination and Lithuania's people became one of the pawns in their brutal game of war.
In the middle of the night, Soviet secret police arrest Lina and her family and proceed to confiscate their home and belongings. They are deported to Siberia to the gulags (work camps). Their journey of many weeks was in train cars labeled Thieves and Prostitutes. Many children, educators, and librarians were arrested and it is shocking how brutally these people were treated. Lina's journey takes her to a camp in the Arctic circle. Maps are included in the book so you can visualize the perilous length and the distance the family was forced to travel.
Sepetys has created an amazing story of resilient and courageous people. These people suffered through illness, heartache, pain, loss and degradation. Yet, the Lithuanian people and the characters in the book did not lose hope. This is a story that needed to be told and deserves to be read.
Lina, the main character, is a 15 year old, who is a excellent artist. She favors artist Edvard Munch, whose most famous painting is called The Scream. She is connected to her father through her art and her art reflects the shades of gray in her life. Their is little color in a world where you are forced into labor for committing no crime, where people you love suffer and die. Sometimes, you might get an extra bite of bread or a small act of kindness to lighten your load.
Do you want to know what lies Between Shades of Gray? You definitely need to read the book to find out.