The Girl from the TrainIrma Joubert
When 6-year-old Gretl jumps from a train bound for Auschwitz, her mother and grandmother are unable to follow---and a long, desperate journey ensues. Eventually, she's able to find refuge with Jakob, a Polish freedom fighter---but with the world changing in such radical ways... Read More
- Store Only: Yes
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Nov 3, 2015
- UPC: 9780529102379
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 384
- Publish Date: Nov 3, 2015
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC014000"
- ISBN: 0529102374
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- Gretl's story will touch your heart by SavingsInSeconds.com on 12/6/2015
I have a hard time reading WWII and Holocaust books. For one thing, the atrocities are so heavy on my heart for days afterward. The vivid descriptions of human hardship don't loosen their grip on my soul. Secondly, in my experience, WWII novels tend to be about the war's actions rather than the characters. When I accepted a copy of The Girl on the Train, I anticipated something similar to happen. What immediately struck me was the fact that the story was introduced by a 6-year-old child. Because of this, many of the inferences were more gently drawn, instead of being violently graphic. It helped me to ease into the story with interest and compassion, rather than horror.
The two characters, Gretl and Jakob, are from extremely different circumstances. Their paths cross in an unexpected way, which makes the story a bit unrealistic yet endearing. Because the book spans a couple of decades, it's sometimes hard to get a true picture of what happened during those years. It doesn't take the reader into every aspect and nuance of life. Instead, we get a broad vision of Gretl's life as she matured. The whole WWII theme seems secondary to the coming-of-age storyline. The writing didn't flow as I'd hoped, which made it difficult to fully enjoy. Later, I learned that the story was written in the author's native language, so that's probably the reason for the stilted prose. Nevertheless, Gretl's story is inspirational and humbling. The Girl on the Train is a wonderful reminder that we're all part of a bigger world, and that our actions can have an amazing impact on someone else's life.
I received this book from Family Christian. Opinions shared are mine.
- a tender war story that everyone can enjoy by Courtney on 12/1/2015
“Not another WWII story… ugh…” I thought when I read the synopsis on the back of The Girl From the Train. I enjoy a story of bravery and hope during desperate war times as much as anyone but I was getting pretty tired of them before I began this book. Shortly after beginning this one I knew I was hooked. I had to find out what happened to Gretl. Would she survive? Would she find out what happened to her parents? Would she ever figure out what her nightmares meant? Would her family learn her secrets? And most importantly, would she ever see Jakób again?
This tender account of a German orphan’s journey to South Africa would charm anyone and it’s not the same old WWII story like you’d imagine. It’s eye-opening, sweet, and captivating. You’ll fall in love with Gretl and her strong will when she’s six and you’ll root for her to find love when she’s a smart, compassionate twenty-one year old. The Girl From the Train is historical fiction that really makes you realize that we are all loved by God, created in His image, and are living out His plan no matter our background, birthplace, or upbringing.
- This totally sucked me in by Debra on 10/19/2015
Gretl (whose name changes throughout the book) grabbed my heart from the opening pages, and never let go. She's six at the start of the book, and she has lost her entire family. It's late in the war, and things are pretty desperate in Poland. Being German with Jewish blood isn't exactly a good thing at that time and place, so Gretl has to keep secrets and lie about who she is.
Jakób enters the scene, and ends up caring for this child as he really doesn't know what else to do. At the end of the war, he finds a way to get her sent to South Africa. Being Jewish or Polish or Catholic isn't exactly a good thing at that time and place, so Gretl has to keep secrets and lie about who she is.
South Africa is good for her, and we skip over a bunch of growing-up years, to find her in university. She still has lots of secrets to keep. And when Jakób appears in South Africa, it becomes even more complicated.
Joubert writes an intricate story, that covers many locations, and has a realistic feel with the historical details provided. Most of her characters are quite likable, and even the ones who aren't are portrayed in a way that you can understand why they do what they do.
I did not want the story to end.
And I will absolutely get any further books by Joubert that are written in English. This book is an example of what I love about historical fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- Christian Shelf-Esteem's review of Girl from the Train by Amanda on 10/6/2015
The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert is unlike any WWII fiction novel I’ve read. Most notably because it’s told through the perspective of a child. Young Gretl, age 6, is of similar age to my own children, so it was easy for me grasp her childlike view of the world. My heart was seized with compassion, because each new twist seemed to compound her grief and loss. Additionally, I loved the tender bond which forms between Gretl and her guardian, Jakob.
Irma Joubert set her novel apart from others in it's era by emphasizing the pre- and post- World War II plight of the Poles. She also held my attention by continuously changing the setting. Over the course of the book, Jakob and Gretl travel through multiple cities in Poland, briefly into Germany, and finally on to South Africa. Each new place brings with it a wealth of historical, political, and geographical nuances.
The ability to read this work in the author’s native language (Afrikaan) is the one thing that could have made the story better. The single aspect of the book that I found unfavorable was the cadence of the translation. Nevertheless, The Girl from the Train is a memorable and heartrending story of indomitable love, faith, and perseverance.
I received this book free as a member of the Family Christian Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”