BOOK REVIEW: You Are My Sunshine – by Roberta Kagan

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Title: You Are My Sunshine
Author: Roberta Kagan
Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII
First published: March 20th 2014
Finished reading: August 10th 2015
Pages: 403
Rating 2

“If we forget people, then they will really die. As long as we keep memories alive, then they live in our memories.”

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I decided to start You Are My Sunshine mostly because I wanted to read a proper historical fiction novel after a misleading read a few weeks ago. I normally really enjoy stories set during WWII, fiction or non fiction. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of this novel by Roberta Kagan. There are a lot of different characters and every single one of them seemed flat and quite boring. The way they acted felt forced and unnatural and I wasn’t a fan of the prose at all. The whole plot in general just didn’t feel credible and was quite weak. I guess the author just wanted to include too many things into the novel and it would have been better focusing on less characters and events. I understand why Roberta Kagan wanted to tell us the background story of some of the less important characters as well, but the only result I could see was an even slower pace. And the prose… I’m not sure how to explain it, but the way the characters interacted was almost cartoon-like and not natural at all. All in all it just wasn’t a convincing WWII historical fiction novel for me.

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The Polish Zofia is a Jewish girl who ends up pregnant by a school teacher… She decides to take care of her child unmarried, something that is frowned upon by the Jewish community. But she has the help of two women who give her a home and a job. Her little girl Eidel looks just like a non Jewish child… Something that will end up saving her when the Nazi’s invade Poland. Zofia and the two women are sent to a concentration camp where they end up meeting SS Manfred Blau. The story has followed Manfred ever since his teenage years and shows his rise and fall within the Nazi party… Which ends with him and his wife and adopted child being sent to the concentration camp; Manfred has to work there to show his loyalty to the party and he turns into a monster. What will happen to Manfred, Zofia and the rest of the characters? What impact has the war on their lives?

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It has been a while since I’ve read a WWII historical fiction novel, so I was really looking forward to You Are My Sunshine. Now I’ve read it, I cannot say it lived up to expectations or that it is actually worth reading. I really feel there are a lot better WWII novels out there that show a better picture of the events during those horrible years. The storylines with Zofia and Manfred have potential, but the prose and bland characters kind of ruined the reading experience for me.

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WWW Wednesdays #52 – August 12th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below. This week I’m trying out a slightly different format! 😀

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas on a whim yesterday because I wasn’t happy with my other current reads. So far I’m definitely enjoying it better than the rest of the titles… It’s actually the second time I’ve started The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, and somehow I cannot seem to get a proper feel for the story. It’s not that I don’t like it, so maybe I’m just not in the mood for it right now. I’ve also started The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I’m not sure what to think of the prose, but the plot is interesting so far. And as far as The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt goes… No progress at all this week. I really have to stop starting new books and read at least a few chapters! Currently I’ve only read about a third and I really want to finish it this month.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

recentreadsaugust12th2015 I managed to read no less than 6! books since my last WWW post. I guess the fact that it has been raining for about every day means I have been having a lot of free time to read…
I first finished Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a ‘heavy’ read with a very original dialogue between the main character and the girl on the tapes.
I then couldn’t resist any longer and read Blood Of My Blood by Barry Lyga. It’s the third book of the Jasper Dent series and I absolutely loved it! So many plot twists, awesome characters and brilliant prose! Barry Lyga is definitely one of my new favorite authors.
I started Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly on a whim afterwards, looking for a light read. I was mostly disappointed by it; boring characters, mediocre prose and a not so credible plot.
Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan was a lot better, although I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it even better during the Holiday season. But since it was a book club read, I didn’t have much choice picking the date. 😉
I’ve also read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Finally! I’ve had this one on my TBR for ages… I enjoyed this read, especially the prose, but not as much as some others might have.
The last book I’ve managed to finish this week is You Are My Sunshine by Roberta Kagan. I wanted a proper historical fiction read after being disappointed by Masquerade a while back, but I wasn’t a fan of this novel either. Bland characters, a weak plot and the prose was not so great either. Such a shame, because I normally love WWII historical fiction!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have Rarity From The Hollow, an ARC sent by the author Robert Eggleton, next on the list to read as soon as I finish my current reads. I also want to try and read The Death Cure by James Dashner so I can finish one more series (although I have a copy of The Kill Order as well)… And I’m looking forward to start The Martian by Andy Weir soon since I’ve heard great things about it. And I REALLY should read The Kings Of Cool by Don Winslow soon, because it was my TBR jar pick ages ago and I still haven’t picked it up…

Friday Finds #36 – May 15th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I haven’t been looking much for new titles as I try to spend as much time as possible reading for the Bout Of Books 13 read-a-thon… But I was still able to add a few new titles. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page.

My finds:

fridayfindsmay15th2015 Continue reading