Name: The Tattooist Of Auschwitz
Author: Heather Morris
I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.
I haven’t read a lot of books set in Auschwitz, but this was not my favourite. The Tattooist of Auschwitz follows the real story of Lale Sokolov as he volunteers to go to Auschwitz in his brother’s place and meets Gita at the camp. Now whilst it’s pretty amazing that this is a true story, I think I would be calling the author out for writing an unrealistic romance if it wasn’t.
Heather Morris originally intended for this story to be a screen adaptation and in some points it’s as if she took her script and just put it in a cover. There was next to no description anywhere; whilst just stating that there is some trees, or that Gita was ‘pretty’ works for a script, this isn’t a script. It’s a book. In films, you show personality through actions – that’s why casting is so important – but if I’m reading these characters, then I need personality and thoughts and opinions. I don’t think I could name a single trait of Lale’s, or why he was even attracted to Gita in the first place (their relationship was so badly written it made me want to cry).
I was prepared to cry over this book. I had been lining up some mindless romances for after reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz so I could get over what I was sure would be a heartbreaking but powerful read. Personally, it was neither. The main reason for this was just that I wasn’t that attached to the characters. The things that happened to them were awful, but it felt more like reading about them in a textbook compared to a personal rendition of the events. Lale being the tattooist was a major factor in him surviving at the camp but I don’t know if it was worthy of being the title of the book.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz had so much potential, but I think that the author fell flat. The dialogue was very bland and there was little sense of terror or urgency. Personally, I didn’t enjoy this book, but let me know your opinion on it 🙂