We Were the Lucky Ones
by Georgia Hunter
This isn’t normally a book I would choose to read, but it was my Book Clubs’ October pick. I didn’t think I would like it (because reading about the Holocaust is super depressing), but I did. I liked it a lot.
When I think of books set during the Holocaust I think of all the atrocities that were actually committed and I don’t expect a happy ending or any sort of positive message. (I refuse to read The Boy in The Striped Pajamas because I know how it ends) Don’t get me wrong, I think it is super important to learn about the Holocaust and I have visited both the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg, Germany. I just don’t want to read books about it. (I tend to like fantasy action adventure books with HEAs)
Even though this is a book set during the Holocaust and is about a Jewish family’s fight to survive, it is incredibly uplifting and inspiring. What this family went through, what they did to survive, is incredible. Their perseverance and strength through the toughest adversities was amazing. The themes of family, love, and strength were prevalent throughout the whole story.
The story starts following three generations of the Kurc family, who at the beginning of the war were mostly together, but war and unforeseen circumstances tear them away to many different places. The POV switches every chapter as you watch the family fight to survive and get back to each other. Family is more important than anything else.
My favorite characters were Mila and Felicia. Mila struggled as a mother before the war, but during the war she stepped up and really became an amazing mother. I loved watching her transformation. And Felicia, who was 1 when the war started and 7 when it ended, was so strong and brave and I couldn’t imagine a child going through what she did and surviving.
I really liked that the book focused more on the amazing strength of the family than it did on the horrors of the war. It didn’t leave anything out, but it didn’t go into gruesome details either. I’ve seen pictures and read books before, I know the conditions people were submitted too. We Were The Lucky Ones was more about how they didn’t realize how bad it was until it was too late. It was about how they outsmarted the Nazis and all the ingenious things they did to survive. It didn’t sugar coat anything, but it didn’t linger either. I’m not explaining it very well, but it was written really really well.
And, what makes everything about this story even better, is that its true. We Were the Lucky Ones was written by the Granddaughter of one of the brothers in the story. This book is the compilation of her family’s history during the war. The title is actually a sentence said by one of the surviving characters. There were parts of the story that I found my self thinking there was no way that actually happened, it was too good to be realistic. But then, after I finished the book, I learned that it did all actually happen. They really were the lucky ones.
I bawled my eyes out reading parts of this book, but I would still recommend it. Its a hard book just because it is about a Jewish family living in Poland during WWII, but its an incredible story. I highly recommend reading it.
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One of the really cool things about the characters was how many languages they could speak! (One of the brothers knew 7 languages!) On GoodReads I could find editions of We Were the Lucky Ones in 11 different languages:
- English (We Were the Lucky Ones)
- Dutch (Wij waren de gelukkigen)
- Romanian (Supravietuitorii)
- French (Sur les ailes de la chance)
- Italian (Noi, i salvati)
- Polish (My mieliśmy szczęście)
- Portuguese (Somos os Que Tiveram Sorte)
- Persian (خوششانستر از همه بودیم)
- Slovak (Mali sme šťastie)
- Hebrew (היינו בני המזל)
- Hungarian (A szabadság illata)
For the Instagram featured pictures I made sure each picture featured a cover from a different language (English, Persian, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, French, Italian, Romanian, and Dutch)