For the first post of my Week of Reviews, I’m going to be reviewing a holocaust story, called The Last Train by Rona Arato.
The Last Train is the harrowing true story about young brothers Paul and Oscar Arato and their mother, Lenke, surviving the Nazi occupation during the final years of World War II.
Living in the town of Karcag, Hungary, the Aratos feel insulated from the war — even as it rages all around them. Hungary is allied with Germany to protect its citizens from invasion, but in 1944 Hitler breaks his promise to keep the Nazis out of Hungary.
The Nazi occupation forces the family into situations of growing panic and fear: first into a ghetto in their hometown; then a labor camp in Austria; and, finally, to the deadly Bergen Belsen camp deep in the heart of Germany. Separated from their father, 6-year-old Paul and 11-year-old Oscar must care for their increasingly sick mother, all while trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy amid the horrors of the camp.
In the spring of 1945, the boys see British planes flying over the camp, and a spark of hope that the war will soon end ignites. And then, they are forced onto a dark, stinking boxcar by the Nazi guards. After four days on the train, the boys are convinced they will be killed, but through a twist of fate, the train is discovered and liberated by a battalion of American soldiers marching through Germany.
The book concludes when Paul, now a grown man living in Canada, stumbles upon photographs on the internet of his train being liberated. After writing to the man who posted the pictures, Paul is presented with an opportunity to meet his rescuers at a reunion in New York — but first he must decide if he is prepared to reopen the wounds of his past.
One of my favourite genres to read about is Realistic/Historical Fiction. So, off the bat, I knew that I was going to indulge right into this book. Although, I was expecting more. I have read a lot more stronger stories about the holocaust, and although that this was definitley NOT one of them, I still really enjoyed it.
This book was another Red Maple pick, read all about the Red Maple, Forest of Reading program here: .
This book is roughly 150 pages, therefore I read it in one day!
I really liked the main characters Oscar and Paul. Since this book is based after Rona’s husband, Paul, I found myself liking Oscar a lot more. Oscar was very mature for the age of 10 (he turns 11 near the end), and always cared for Paul. The bond was so tight, and that’s what gripped me for most of the story!
I really enjoyed this book, and gave it 4 out of 5 stars (which I believe was generous).
I hope you enjoyed this book review!
Good Night Book Lions!