Here’s the thing, I had this book in my wishlist for a while. I came across the book after seeing Gidon on TikTok. I love reading about WWII, and I enjoy memoirs from survivors and memoirs in general, so this sounded right up my alley.
I was expecting a book about Gidon’s life, and sometimes I got that. But a lot of the book revolved around Gidon’s relationship with Julie and the things Julie did with Gidon, and to be honest, I didn’t buy the book because I was interested in Julie. I guess some of that is my fault because the blurb describes “from the writer who loved him.” But I just didn’t care about Julie’s history or her story, and I feel it polluted Gidon’s story, which is why I bought the book.
Some of Gidon’s perceptions seem skewed, especially when he contradicts things his mother has written. As a result, it’s hard to parse out what actually happened. Was it because he was so young or so immersed in his situation to look outside of it? Or is it because we’re viewing the bulk of the story through Julie’s perceptions of Gidon? If the book revolved more around just Gidon, I would have enjoyed it so much more. I wanted to love this one, but it just wasn’t the right book for me.
About the Book:
The True Adventures of Gidon Lev is the moving story of an extraordinary Holocaust survivor and the writer who loved him. Of the 15,000 children in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt in the Czech Republic, fewer than 100 survived. Gidon Lev is one of those children.
A quirky, inspirational story of hope, Gidon’s story is also a primer on Jewish culture and history. Part memoir and part Israel and Middle East travelogue, The True Adventures of Gidon Lev is a love letter about a late in life romance and a celebration of the resilience and reinvention of the human spirit.