Review of Wordwings by Sydelle Pearl

Posted by in netgalley copy

In which I read another novel about the Holocaust, set in a Polish Ghetto, from the perspective of a child, but without the magical talking dolls. I think I appreciate books about the Holocaust more that don't feature talking dolls, as much as anyone can, or should, appreciate a novel about how truly sh*tty humans can be to each other.

So, Wordwings is about a girl who tells stories in the Warsaw ghetto, writing them between and around the lines of a worn book of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. That's why I requested it; there's something poetic about where she had to write. It has a sort of fairy tale logic in its necessity. And then there's some talk of The Six Swans, which I always think of a The Three Ravens from the Jim Henson Storyteller TV show. So, little pieces I liked dappled throughout.

I approached Wordwings as a children's book, maybe because the last novel I read about the Holocaust was geared towards kids. But then Netgalley tells me it's General Adult. But then Rivke, our protagonist, doesn't really write like a child, although does one write like a child in such situations? I am blessed that I never had to find out. But as an adult book, Wordwings only kind of works, mainly since the secondary characters are more sketches than people. If we put it back as a middle-grade novel, the characterization work better. But then we're again with the voice, which I can't reconcile with a child's one. But I think a middle-grade reader would see past that. And I think that even if it says General adult, I might put it under mature middle-grade (and weirdo grown-ups like me who like middle-grade books).

Wordwings by Sydelle Pearl went on sale October 1, 2017.

I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.