Reading for a Lifetime Together

Briar Rose
April 5, 2010, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The first time I read Briar Rose was in the seventh or eighth grade, because my librarian suggested it to me. The story is about a young girl named Rebecca Berlin, who grew up with her grandmother, Gemma. Gemma always told her a version of Sleeping Beauty that was very grotesque and frightening. When Rebecca grows up she hears the other version of the story. When her grandmother dies she realizes that the fairy tale is a clue into her grandmother’s past and she travels to Poland to learn more. She contacts her good friend Stan, who finds out that Becca’s grandmother was a survivor of the Holocaust. She was sent to Chelmo, an execution camp, for her polish decent and jewish beliefs. Becca discovers a link Josef Potocki and sets out to find him. Josef tells Becca about his life and how he met Gemma. He was a target because of his homosexuality and joined a group of people who rescued the people in the camps. He saved Gemma after she was gassed and gave her CPR to revive her. She was called princess in German and called the CPR the kiss of life (just like Sleeping Beauty). Gemma falls in love with Josef’s comrade Aron Mandlestein, marries him when they are being hunted by the Nazi’s and changes her name to Eve Mandlestein on her passport to America after Aron dies. Then Becca returns home and tells her family about what she learned and Stan tells her that he loves her.

This is a fantastic book. I only vaguely remember the book because I have read so many of them since then, but I can remember being on the edge of my seat the entire book. It is full of suspense because you don’t know whether Gemma will escape and if Becca will find anything out about her Grandmother. I also remember being really upset when Aron died because (from what I can remember) really loved Gemma and was a great person. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a little history lesson from the Holocaust and a love story in a time when there wasn’t much love left in the world


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By: Jorden Guldner

Comment by sophhonors

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