My Family For The War ~ book review

My daughter found this book at our library book sale the other day. In going through her pile and deciding what to purchase, she chose not to get this one. So I picked it up and looked at it. I knew immediately that I would need to read this book so I bought it. 

Warning: I’m putting this here so it doesn’t get missed. There is some language in chapter 3 of this book. It is a scene where the Germans storm a Jewish home in the middle of the night and the language the Germans use is rough. It is only a short amount but there are several strong words used. Additionally, in the first few chapters, there are some scenes where some violence occurs – a group of children beating up another child severely and the Jewish father being beaten when the German invade their home.

Summary: This is the story of young girl, she is 10 at the start of the story in 1939, living in Germany. Franziska Mangold is of Jewish heritage. Her family has been Protestant for over two generations. She knows who she is and doesn’t quite understand why she is suddenly being considered a Jew. The times get rough and she has to endure many things. When she is beaten up, her Jewish friend takes her to his house. While there, she experiences some of the Jewish religious customs that she doesn’t know. Her friend questions her about who she really is but she doesn’t know how to answer.

After her father is arrested, her family struggles. In talking with a Jewish friend, Franziska finds out about the kindertransports that are being arranged by others in Europe to help save the German children. She excitedly tells her mother about that and how her friend will be saved. Her mother then gets her on one of the transports, to her dismay. She ends up in England and living with a Jewish family who takes very good care of her.

The problem is that she is now experiencing very deep dismay and confusion about who she is and how she should be living. She begins to question her beliefs, her understanding, and who she is at the very core. She comes to care deeply for the family she is living with yet still aching for her own family. She is torn and feels like she is betraying those she loves. Then she is ripped from that family and sent to live with yet another that is farther inland. That is yet another difficulty. Eventually she is able to be reunited with the original Jewish family from London. The war goes on and she stays with them for the remainder of the war. All in all, she is with this family for 8 years, almost half her life. She loves them and feels strongly attached. When the war ends, she has more struggles ahead of her to figure out who her family is and where she belongs.

This is a tragic story that is probably more accurate than I can imagine. This story shows the blessing and tragedy of humanitarian efforts like the kindertransport. Children’s lives are preserved but their beings are ripped and torn with no understanding about where they belong. What difficulty!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have already recommended it to a number of people. It is probably appropriate for middle school and up, especially for those doing any kind of a WWII study. It is not a true story but I can imagine that it pretty well reflects the growing up and coming-of-age of many children from Germany and other countries so badly affected by the German war movements in the 1930s and 1940s. 

It gives a unique perspective on how the children would have been affected, hurt, and struggled. It is a difficult but wonderful story.

At Home.

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12 thoughts on “My Family For The War ~ book review

  1. Annette V January 4, 2019 at 10:16 pm Reply

    oh… I will have to see if I can find this one… it’s sounds wonderfully sad and shows the struggle youngsters would have had.

  2. dawnpeluso January 6, 2019 at 12:47 pm Reply

    This sounds like a very interesting book. We read The War That Saved My Life last year as a family which talked about some similar concepts from the perspective of those in England but this ones sounds like a book my middle schooler and I would enjoy going through together.

    • 3gigglygirlsathome January 6, 2019 at 9:26 pm Reply

      This is similar to The War That Saved My Life but do feel this one gives a much deeper sight to the emotions of those children. An excellent read. I am going to try to get my middle schooler to read this one.

  3. BeatOfOurDrum January 7, 2019 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Sounds like a book I will have to track down and read! Thank you for your review 🙂

    • 3gigglygirlsathome January 7, 2019 at 10:30 pm Reply

      I hope you are able to. I can’t say enough good about the perspective this gave me.

  4. Kari Lynn Dundass January 8, 2019 at 10:12 am Reply

    Thanks for the review. I am going to put this on our list for when my kids are older.

  5. Kym Thorpe January 8, 2019 at 2:54 pm Reply

    Sounds like a very good read – one of those disturbing but important books!

    • 3gigglygirlsathome January 8, 2019 at 3:46 pm Reply

      I really enjoyed it and the realization of how the war affected children, ripping them from their families at their most influential stages in order to protect their lives. Even when it is what the family wants, the difficulty still existed.

  6. worthabowedhead January 9, 2019 at 1:29 pm Reply

    Going to have to look for that one.. hate sad books but love the true stories…so often inspiring too!

    • 3gigglygirlsathome January 9, 2019 at 4:57 pm Reply

      I believe this is a work of fiction but it is absolutely based on so many children’s lives during that time. It is a touching story and brings more understanding to what so many were forced to go through.

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