Sunday, May 19, 2013

My take on: Remember Me

Growing up in Bosnia, Selma was a typical teenager. She got good grades. For the most part, she was a dutiful daughter. She had a close-knit group of friends. Selma even had a boyfriend named Johnny, whom she tried to hide from her parents. But Selma's adolescence took a horrific turn in 1992 -- the start of the Bosnian War.

Remember Me by Sanela Ramic Jurich paints a horrific portrait of the war. People were raped, murdered, and tortured for no reason other than their religious beliefs or that they dared to talk back. I was 10 years old at the start of this war, old enough to remember this time period but honestly I don't. There were some passages in this book that I stared at in shock and with wide eyes. Why? I just couldn't believe how cruel some people could be. This is a fictional story, but I'm sure plenty of people who survived the war can see themselves in Selma.

Selma should have been worried about teenage things, but slowly her way of life gets stripped away. The child of a Muslim-Catholic couple, Selma begins to worry that she and her family could lose their lives because of their beliefs. Friends you see on Monday could be gone on Tuesday. People have to leave their homes. People don't know who they can trust. Your friend can quickly become the enemy. If you're living in fear, are you really living at all? Selma can't be normal anymore. One by one members of her extended family are murdered, her father is arrested, and Selma herself is forced into a concentration camp. This is where the book became hard to read. Each day spent at the camp strips away at Selma's soul. She is raped and tortured. She begins to see herself as damaged goods. If she survives, will Johnny still love her? Will her parents and family still love her? Will people know what happened just by looking at her? How can life ever go back to normal?

I'm not going to give too much away, but Selma's time in the concentration camp changed her life in many, many ways. If you want to know what I'm talking about, read the book!! Selma does survive. She reunites with her mother, and begins a new life in America. Their transition to America is where I have a problem with this book. The parts in America felt a little rushed. Entire years are glossed over with just a few paragraphs to sum them up. I felt there was more emotional depth to the story before Selma came to America. Once in Chicago, Selma seems to shut down emotionally and is focused on achieving the "American dream." There's nothing wrong with that, but Selma wasn't dealing with the emotional trauma she suffered in the past. I know some people do that as a means to cope, but this part of the story felt a little uneven. I might not have liked everything in this book, but overall it was very good and worth reading.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like interesting to read. I'll give it a try.

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  2. Definitely worth reading. It's hard to read sometimes.

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