Monday, 18 December 2017

Audio: Between Shades of Grey - Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at great risk - documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. 

Audio CD, Unabridged , 6 CDs, 7 hours, 47 minutes
Published March 22nd 2011 by Penguin Audio
Historical fiction / YA
Sync!

My thoughts:
I read some reviews, and the author talked about it at the end too, what you ask? That people do not realise how many millions and millions of people that Stalin murdered. What school did you go to?!

Lithuania is occupied by Soviet. Her father is a professor and in the night they are taken away. Fascists bourgeoisie pigs as they are. They are sent to Siberia to work. To die.

Lina is 15 and loves to draw. Her brother Jonas is 10. Her mother has a coat filled with things to sell. I thought they had it bad first, but it actually gets worse. We only follow them for a year but it is a horrible year filled with death, tears, but also so much love. Love for each other and the will to go on. To survive and to get back to Lithuania (of course I googled, damn, either they were denied entry when the Soviet started to release prisoners in the 50s, or they were discriminated against.)

I cried, how could I not. There was this one part with a baby that just broke me.

I am so grateful for those that fought so we could keep our independence. We could easily have been the Baltics. No one should have to live under that Communist regime of terror.

It is a good book, it is a sad book. There is so much hope in the face of despair and I do not know how anyone could have survived what they did. But people survived, against all odds.

Narrator Emily Klein 
I liked her voice for Lena, but to be honest she did not really do all the other voices that differently. But in the end it worked anyway cos the story was good.

One thing, in print it was surely obvious but here it was tricky with the flashbacks. Suddenly i was all wtf is Lena doing?? Oh, flashback. 

Cover
ok


39 comments:

  1. I remember seeing this one a lot around but I haven't read it. I'm curious though

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  2. I've listened to a few books where the narrator doesn't offer much of a pause when they do flashbacks or something like that. It can be a bit jarring. I think that many schools could do a better job of teaching history. Help us learn from past mistakes.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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    1. Things like this is so important! Like when I read a book about Mao and omg, who is that evil?

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  3. Every time I hear about these stories, I'm saddened over the suffering and deaths, so I would definitely shed lots of tears over this book as well. Great review! Hugs...RO

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    1. It is just so hard to understand the cruelty of man

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  4. This book was very personal for me - some of my family survived being exiled to Siberia so I cried buckets. I went to see the author afterward and embarrassed myself by sobbing at the event. Sepetys is a wonderful, passionate speaker.

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    1. They were! I am so sorry. That is terrible to hear. SInce I do know what they went through there. Which makes me again so glad that we came out from two wars with Russia with our independence intact cos else many would have ended up there

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  5. This sounds like a must read. My husbands paternal grandmother was Lithuania and she has shared stories of family.

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  6. I need to read this one. I loved Salt to the Sea. That one had me sobbing like a baby too. I love how she writes about authentic stories despite how sad they are.

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    1. I think the library has that one *fingers crossed*

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  7. It was a sad book but good. It's been awhile since I read it and I've been meaning to try her other books too but haven't gotten around yet.

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  8. I have a feeling this would make me tear up quite a bit.

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  9. That sounds like a very emotional read.

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  10. I have read so much sad books recently that I've decided to move to more cheery ones, but this one sounds so good! I love books with art related backgrounds

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  11. I met this author at a book signing and she was amazing. I still need to sit down and read her books but she is pretty high on the tbr.

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  12. Oh, sounds so powerful and moving - but not my thing. As far as history - here in the U.S., in grade/high school, we don't learn much of the histories of other countries, unless it is ancient history / early civilization. Then, in college, you only learn it if you take a specific class. Unfortunate.

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    1. I do get that, one can not learn all of history. Still I think we covered the horrific things here at least, from all over

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  13. I've heard such great things about this author. I really want to try her books, but I might start with Salt to the Sea when I do.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  14. Must have been really hard to listen to this one, but so important we realise what went on.

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  15. I'm in the US and I learned a lot in school in the19'70s about the atrocities of Stalin - horrible. The world should never be allowed to forget.

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  16. Her books tend to gut people. I have one and I've been a coward about reading it. I do need to read them though because it honors the people who survived monsters like Stalin.

    Thanks for sharing about this one. I want to read it. I don't think I'll do audio since I get confused when flashbacks happen.

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    1. It is also so much harder listening too than reading since it takes longer

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  17. I heard the audio for Salt to the Sea and it was amazing. This is on my list as well.

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  18. I got a little teary-eyed reading your review. Eeek. I want to read!

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    1. The feels, the feels! See, there was this baby, omg, the feeeeeeels

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  19. I don't understand how people don't know these things. Ahh! Yes, a crying book for sure.

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    1. I started thinking of one thing and wanted to cry again

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