Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously and at great risk documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
This book was not easy to read. In fact, I cried during the first chapter and consistently throughout. It's the kind of book that makes you question humanity and makes you wonder how people could ever be treated in such inhumane ways. And yet woven through the story was a thread of hope--Lina's will to survive, her mother's spirit and generosity despite the circumstances, the power of all different types of love. And it was in these storylines that I was able to maintain my sense of faith in people.
My favorite part of this book was Lina's character. Like any other teenager, she questions everything and struggles to come to terms with what is happening all around her. At one point, her mother shows kindness to a woman who Lina hates and she can't understand why. But as the novel continues, she grows and learns and finally understands. I love the similarities between Lina's character and any other teenager. It allows the reader to connect and imagine how or if they could prevail under the same circumstances. Honestly, I don't know that I could. It's truly unbelievable that anyone survived.
Most shocking is the fact that this story had been kept a secret for many years. Some survivors didn't make it home until 1954. This was unbelievable to me. And then when they made it home, they couldn't tell a soul about their story for fear of death or deportation back to Siberia. Everyone should read this to uncover the secret and learn about the will to survive and the cost of freedom. It's hard to believe anything like this ever happened and yet we haven't truly learned from our past mistakes either. Let's hope that books like this can help.
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