Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys

No, this is NOT one of those shady Shades of Grey books! Between Shades of Gray tells the horrors of the Stalin's regime. This account is told from the perspective of Lina, a 16-year old Lithuanian girl who, along with her mother and younger brother are separated from their father, arrested, taken from their home, and transported to a Siberian labor camp. Being an artist, Lina's job in the camp is to paint pictures for Russian diplomats, however Lina also secretly makes pictures of the harsh life she and her companions are living. These paintings Lina and fellow artists in the camp, carefully hide in the hopes that someday the truth of their experiences will come to light. Additionally, Lina is constantly trying to locate her father by sending out secret messages.

Many books have been written regarding Hitler and the Nazi's, not so much concerning Stalin and his secret police, which happened in a near parallel timeframe. I'm not sure if that is just my lack of reading or if this ugly slice of history has just been kept better hidden. Anyway, if you've read lots of the WWII stories of concentration camps, this Great Purge of Stalin will sound all too familiar.

Reminiscent of The Diary of Anne Frank or Night. 

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