Book Review: To Look a Nazi in the Eye by Kathy Kacer and Jordana Lebowitz


Release Date: September 12, 2017
Read Date: June 17, 2017 (ARC provided by NetGalley)
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Ever since I did a biography on Anne Frank in the fifth grade, I’ve been interested in both fiction and nonfiction revolving around the Holocaust and survivors’ stories. It’s extremely important that we never forget the atrocities committed during World War II and books like these, which record the stories of those who lived through it, help record and preserve history.

To Look a Nazi in the Eye is the true story of Jordana Lebowitz, a Canadian descendant of Holocaust survivors who traveled to Germany to witness the trial of Oskar Groening, who was known as the Bookkeeper of Auschwitz. The book includes Kacer’s retelling of the story, excerpts from Jordana’s original journals and Groening’s actual testimonies.

I’m going to be real – while this book has incredible content that is insanely important, I skimmed through a good amount of it. My issue was Kacer’s writing style. It was very halting, awkward and stiff, and I found myself wanting to really just read Jordana’s original journals and Groening’s testimonies. I felt like Kacer’s writing style actually detracted from the potential impact it could have had. It just felt too simple and almost juvenile.

So while the story and content is great and the parts that were transcripts from Groening or Jordana were emotional and moving, the overall experience of the book was dampened by the writing. So would I recommend this book? Even if it’s just for the transcripts and insights into the trial itself, I would say yes. Just be aware that it is not Elie Wiesel’s Night and that it’s not going to be the most poignant piece of literature you’ve ever read. But once again, it is so important to understand what happened and keep the memory of those who suffered alive and well.

Does this book sound interesting to you? What’s your favorite book about World War II?

xoxo y’all,

**I received a free advance copy of this book for review. All opinions are uninfluenced and my own.


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