What We Did for Love

Natasha Far­rant
  • Review
By – November 7, 2014

It is the end of World War II in a French vil­lage. The Allies have already land­ed in the North. We lat­er find out that the per­son who is telling the sto­ry is dead and is look­ing back at all that has happened. 

The story’s young adults deal with roman­tic intrigue but also with fam­i­ly mem­bers who inform to the Nazis, result­ing in the roundup of Jews. But being an infor­mant is not con­fined just to adults. These young peo­ple spy on one anoth­er, as well; issues of trust are problematic. 

Inter­spersed with the main plot are chap­ters about the activ­i­ties of the Ger­man troops assigned to do mass killings of Jews, Com­mu­nists, and any­one else who dis­agrees with them.” The author shows how they try to jus­ti­fy what they are doing. One of the Ger­man sol­diers, writes to his wife that he is only obey­ing orders.” He tears up each let­ter know­ing that he will nev­er share what he has real­ly done. 

The sto­ry reach­es a cli­max when one of the young adults decides to join the Resis­tance and blows up a train of Ger­man sol­diers. The con­se­quences to the res­i­dents of the town are graph­ic and horrible. 

This is a pow­er­ful tale about non-Jews who face the inva­sion of their vil­lage by the Nazis. It shows how some res­i­dents allow the Jews among them to be sac­ri­ficed to the oncom­ing invaders. How­ev­er, poor tran­si­tions in the ini­tial chap­ters and insuf­fi­cient back­ground infor­ma­tion keep the read­er mys­ti­fied as to how the two plots are con­nect­ed. This may be inten­tion­al but can be dis­ori­ent­ing. Recom­mended for ages 15 and up.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

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