Long story short: a short, but necessary read

47  (photo courtesy of: bookjourney.net)

The last time I’d read anything related to the Holocaust was in high school. It was part of the required curriculum, a standard that all juniors, sophomores, or even freshmen had to learn about eventually. It was like a hymn that was passed down for generations: Hitler was a bad man, millions of innocent Jews were murdered by the Nazis, America swooped in and saved the day.

Four, or maybe five, years later I decided to pick up Night by Elie Wiesel again out of curiosity. Would it be as I remembered it? Well, yes and no. It is just as much a powerful book as it was when it was published, but there were some things that I picked up a second time that gave me a different experience from what I remember. For one, the author’s writing style is much more short and to the point. To his credit, it helps readers with a shorter attention span keep reading. But on the flip side, the only character depth we get is a character at the beginning of the book named Moishe the Beadle. Every other character seems more cookie-cutter with a little embellishment to, again, keep readers reading.

Personally, I prefer books with longer chapters, side stories, and in-depth descriptions of characters so that they seem more realistic and three dimensional. That does not mean that this is a bad book in any way, though. If anything, this novel is a reminder that stories can be told in a variety of ways, and each different way should be cherished. More importantly, this novel is a painful reminder of what I had learned in school, and now that I’m older, it’s easier for me to understand the pain and the exhaustion of those who had to go through such horrifying circumstances. I would not only recommend this book for high schoolers, but for those who graduated from high school. Even those who didn’t graduate would benefit from this novel, as it is necessary to remember the past as much as possible so that we don’t repeat it.