Author: Heather Morris
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback 320 pages
Release Date: 4 October 2018
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
I would like to thank the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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 am absolutely fascinated by this period of history and the atrocities that took place during these times so I was initially drawn to this book as I am always intrigued to see how different authors tackle these sensitive issues.
This book is beautifully and sensitively written. The way the author has chosen to write about Lale’s history has been thoughtfully, and respectfully done. I have no doubt that the instances Lale experienced are far more severe than the author has written about but rather than include these points for shock value, the author has instead, concentrated on the good that came from Lale’s experiences, whilst at the same time, walking us through what life was like for Lale.
It feels wrong almost to write about how much I enjoyed this book when the subject of the book is anything but joyous, so rather I will say that I was incredibly moved and humbled by this book. Reading about Lale’s strong personality and how even in the depths of despair he managed to keep a flame of hope alive and constantly strived to help those around him was astonishing.
I understand from the authors note that this story was originally intended as a screenplay. I’m so pleased that this was adapted and made into a novel instead as I feel I got so much more from this story by reading it rather than watching it.
This is honestly one of those books that will stay with me for a long long time and in my opinion this is a book that everyone should read and could learn from. Highly recommend.
About the Author
Heather attended many screenwriting courses, seminars and workshops in both Australia and the U.S. Her first screenplay was optioned by Academy Award winning writer Pamela Wallace (Witness).
In 2003 she was introduced to Lale Sokolov and subsequently wrote The Tattooist as a screenplay. The Tattooist was optioned by Instinct Entertainment (Melbourne). When the option lapsed, Heather entered it into several international screenwriting competitions, winning the International Independent Film Awards competition in 2016 and highly placing in several others, including the ISA (International Screenwriters’ Association) and Final Draft competitions.
Inspired by the comments from competition readers, Heather embarked on a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish her story as a novel.
Through this venture, she came to the attention of Angela Meyer at Echo (Bonnier Publishing Australia) in Melbourne.
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