Review: The Living and the Lost
By Ellen Fledman
Title: The Living and the Lost
Author: Ellen Feldman
Publication Date: September 2021
Reviewed by Natalie
This is the first post-World War II book I've read. Millie and her brother were able to escape to the United States before the war began. Now they've returned. Millie works in an office bent on removing Nazis from publishing and David is still in the military. Millie is filled with rage at the country and its people for what they let happen and it bleeds into many of her interactions with others throughout the book.
She meets Harry Sutton, who has a far more forgiving nature about the agitation; something she can't comprehend. In addition, she is harboring shame & guilt for something she believes is her fault.
I have to admit, at the beginning of the book, I had twinges at the sheer rage and hate Millie was feeling. My father was born right before the war began in Germany and he told us a bit of what my Oma went through during those years (my Opa was "drafted' and then killed on the Russian Front). It was hard for me to feel that hatred, but I also understood it at the same time. I had to get past my own family's history to really understand Millie and what she went through. It didn't take long for me to do so and her story and that of the horrific conditions of post-war Germany were haunting to read.
I liked this book, but I did not love it. There were some side-stories I found more compelling than Millie's and her side story with Harry threw me off. It veered off the main storyline for me. I usually enjoy some romance thrown in, but I couldn't quite get into theirs. It's worth a read, just for this take on post-war Germany.