Sunday, 7 February 2021

The Other Me

Finished January 31
The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson


This book has three timelines in it. One follows two German brothers as Nazi power is on the rise and they get enveloped into the German army, one more enthusiastically than the other.
Another timeline follows Klaudia in the mid-1980s as she struggles to keep her home and school life separate. Her father is strict and very religious and doesn't say much about his German background. Her parents met in Wales when her dad was a POW there and her mom a teenager. There is no contact with her mother's side of the family. Klaudia and her mother are close and her mother encourages her to practice her passion, dancing, even though they can't afford lessons and her father would never permit it anyway. Her father has had various low level jobs and currently works as a custodian at her school, something that would impact how Klaudia was treated by other students if it became common knowledge. 
The third timeline is the mid 1990s. Klaudia has gone away to university and reinvented herself. She has dropped out of the university her parents think she is still going to, uses a different name, Eliza, with everyone she knows and is taking dance lessons. She has even gained a boyfriend. But when a family emergency brings her home again, she doesn't know if she can tell her friends the truth, and when she learns more about her parents' past, it seems there are more secrets for her to keep. 
This was an interesting story, driven by the author's own recent revelations about her past, making her wonder "what if". I liked Klaudia/Eliza and her mother and the one brother of the two German men. But the other one inspired more complex emotions in me. I both didn't like him, and sympathized with him. 

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