Sunday, December 5, 2010

For the million and a half...

I've owned a copy of Sid Fleischman's The Entertainer and the Dybbuk for longer than I should admit, because that is how long it's taken for me to sit down and read it. Worse, my dear friend Banna is the narrator of the Full Cast Audio edition of the book. Oy. I'm listening to her talented narration as I type.

This spare and powerful little novel should be a must-read for every child as they are introduced to the horrors of the Holocaust. Why? Because it presents the horrible truth of what happened to one-and-a-half-million Jewish children with wit and charm, but it does not trivialize the truth by crossing the line to comedy. Fleischman somehow transforms the stuff of nightmares into an eminently readable tome by--in his own words--allowing in "the occasional shaft of sunlight--the tough Jewish sense of humor."

Is it a story of justice, or a story of revenge? Perhaps the two are not so least not in the case of those responsible for such atrocities as the murder of children.

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