Powerful And Heartbreaking
People Like Us by Louise Fein is a powerful and heartbreaking historical novel. It consumed me as I read. Louise Fein grounded her novel in fact which makes it all the more powerful and shocking.
The novel is set in Leipzig in the 1930’s. It is told in the first person from the point of view of an SS officer’s daughter.
The reader is horrified to see the extent to which the young (and the old) are brainwashed, and the pedestal on which they place Hitler. “Community work is – is holy. It brings us closer to the Fuhrer.” What terrible, awful thinking. Hitler is seen as a god and he was even prayed to. The thought of Hitler drove a character’s thoughts and actions. The eyes of the vast majority of a nation were blinded to the evil reality.
As a modern reader, it is totally incomprehensible and utterly appalling to witness Hitler and the Nazis brainwashing a nation. People are the same the world over. If you cut us, we all bleed the same and we all have hopes and dreams.
There are some truly harrowing scenes to read within the book.
Following blindly and without question were the masses. Only a handful could see the terrible truth. “You opened my eyes and made me see.” Everyone needed someone to open their eyes.
There was much fear and mistrust as neighbours, and even family members, informed on those who were disloyal to Hitler.
There were pockets of bravery. Those who would go the extra mile with no thought to personal cost. Doing the right thing was more important than personal safety.
We witness instances of sacrificial love. It is love that gives away for the greater good. Snippets of great love warm the heart.
Louise Fein has cleverly and expertly crafted her novel. We witness the torment of a teen who knows what she’s been taught (Nazi ideology) and what this tells her she should be doing but her eyes and her heart are pulled in an altogether different direction. The reader ‘feels’ the internal tension and battle.
People Like Us was heartbreaking. It was shocking and it was powerful.
People Like Us is a novel that must be read in memory of the six million innocents who perished.
I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.