Between Shades of Gray Pdf
About the Book:
Between Shades of Gray Book
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publish Date: April 3, 2012
Book Pages: 368 (eBook pages can be different)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Members of the well-educated middle class in 1940s Lithuania, Lina and her family lead a contented, happy life. Daughter to a loving, beautiful mother and professor father, older sister to a sweet younger brother, 15 year old Lina has the whole world and all its potential ahead of her, especially when she gets the news that she has been accepted into one of the most prominent art schools in all of Europe.
But one night in 1941, Lina’s home is invaded by the petrifying Soviet police organization responsible for calming political resistance and anti-Communist sentiment under Joseph Stalin’s rule. Lina’s family has been named as fascist devotees and political rivals by the Soviets, and are given a few minutes to pack their most valuable belongings before they are whipped away into the night to disappear from their home forever. Between Shades of Gray is Lina’s story as she, her mother, and her brother struggles to stay together and survive. Loaded into cattle cars and transported hundreds of miles to Siberia to work with hard labor in unimaginable conditions, then again to the Arctic Circle, Lina’s story is one of pain, strength, and endurance.
From a writing and character perspective, Between Shades of Gray does a great job providing as a work of historical fiction. Told from Lina’s first person viewpoint, we watch and experience everything that reveals through eyes. To that end, much of the novel hinges on Lina’s growth as a character and the strength of her narration – and both features, I’m happy to say, are executed beautifully. Lina is a heroine that is both relevant and strong, and matures from ignorantly determined to the one person that can keep her family together as the months and years unfold. I also love the drift of art that runs throughout the book, and Lina’s talent as an artist, her love for the works of Munch, and the hope she infuses in her sketches – to leave hints for her father, yes, but also to tell the story of her family and other Lithuanians as they are exhaustively exiled and disappear. Other characters, particularly Lina’s beautiful and sophisticated mother, are given similar depth and heft, and make Between Shades of Gray a much more rounded, influential read.
While Between Shades of Gray is a great and important story, Sepetys’ debut novel lacks the cleverness with words and raw emotional quality that would make it truly, emotively unforgettable. Lina’s story is simple and straight, emotions layered on one two-dimensional plane without deeper tone or seriousness. Sepetys’ novel does not share the storytelling skill of Zusak’s The Book Thief, Wein’s Code Name Verity, or Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic. This doesn’t mean that Between Shades of Gray is any less of an important book – Honestly, as a work of historic fiction, it doesn’t quite surpass good to great.
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