This is a tough review to write, because I’m not sure what to say about it. To say that I “enjoyed” this book would not be entirely accurate, because it was painful. Carley has taken real life diaries and letters, written by Sofie and Hans Scholl, two German youths in the thick of WWII and Hitler’s Nazism.
At one point, both Hans and Sofie were part of Hitler’s Youth, but both withdrew from the organization because they did not agree with the philosophies of Hitler. Sophie was arrested and detained when she was sixteen, because her brother had withdrawn. However, she was released shortly after.
This is a work of fiction, based on true events, as documented by those letters and diaries, as well as some leaflets produced by an organization that they were both active in, known as The White Rose. The leaflets are reproduced in their entirety at the end of the book.
These young people were brave beyond all description. The way in which they went about their resistance to Hitler seems almost casual. It seems as though they would never have thought twice about it. They were all quite intellectual, as well. They gathered in groups and read works that I would struggle with as an almost 60 year old adult. I can’t even imagine trying to read things like that when I was sixteen.
I have read all of Carley’s novels, and it is my opinion that this is her finest work, to date. Certainly, it doesn’t have nearly the action content as The Only Thing or Gani & Sean, or the mystery and intrigue of As From A Talented Animal. But what she has given us in I Am Sofie is inspiration. I am in awe of the young people in this book. And, at times, I am shamed by my life of ease, in comparison with what they endured.
So did I “enjoy” the book? Hard to say. But I loved it, and I loved what it made me feel. Because it did make me feel. There aren’t too many books that do that. Thank you, Carley.