Night by Elie Wiesel
After surviving his time in German concentration camps during World War II, Eliezar Wiesel gives us a full account of his life during this harrowing experience. Having been collected along with his mother, sisters and father, Elie was only fifteen when he was exposed to the cruelty and brutality of the German SS officers. He had to learn that there were other more sinister meanings of words he formally knew to be innocent: selection, chimneys, hunger, thirst. Being fortunate enough, if one can call it fortunate, to survive these camps, Elie felt it was important to share his story with the world so that it may understand what happened to all those men, women and children, affixed with gold stars, during the rein of the monster known as Hitler.
This was a hard novel to read. The book itself isn't very long, but contains so much emotion within its pages. Elie Wiesel battles within himself as he questions God and ultimately comes to believe that there can be no God, for if there is how could he let these atrocities happen to his people. Elie also must face the shame and guilt he feels as his father's life draws to a close, when Elie can't help but feel relief at the loss of extra responsibility during a time when taking care of oneself required enough energy, nevermind needing to care for and be responsible for one's aging father as well.
I'm so glad that Elie Wiesel had chosen to write this novel. I think it is important for our future generations to learn from past mistakes, and to understand what our ancestors had to go through during those terrible times. Although this was a hard subject to read about, I think the novel is excellently written - it is forward and honest, and isn't designed to elaborate gruesome details of people's deaths (so there are no detailed descriptions of people being beaten to death, or babies being shot, etc), although these things are alluded to throughout the novel. Due to the aforementioned content, I recommend this novel only for those who feel they are prepared - I hesitate to limit my recommendation to a specific age because I think it will vary for each individual whether they can handle this particular subject, however I would suggest this isn't read by anyone younger than highschool aged. I highly recommend this novel.
Note: I read this novel as part of the Night Trilogy, comprised of Night, Dawn and Day by Elie Wiesel.