G83 Book Review of Keeping My Hope by Christopher Huh
Author: Christopher Huh
Publisher: Self published Christopher Huh?
Type of book: graphic novel, middle grades, 1930s-1940s, Holocaust, Poland, family, friendship, Nazi, Germany
Year it was published: 2013
Keeping My Hope is a historical fiction graphic novel that depicts WWII and the Holocaust panoramically and cinematographically through the eyes of a young teenager, Ari. Written by 14-year old Christopher Huh. Ari is a teenager whose entire life is turned upside down by the horrors of the Holocaust. He and his family are torn apart and moved to Auschwitz, where the reader gains an inside look at what prisoners in the concentration camps suffered. However, even with this atrocities, the power of friendship shines through and gives Ari hope to keep surviving through the darkest blizzards of terror. Informative yet touching, Keeping My Hope spreads the message of how powerfully racism and prejudice can affect those around us.
The characters are well rounded, in particular Ari and his friends and family members and I would have liked for the novel to continue on on how he managed to make it to the present day and so forth. They are also secular Jews and are not overly religious (kind of expected in Eastern Europe) While the author does focus on characters, I think the big strength of the book is the plot and the storytelling he does.
It's possible to survive and prosper the horrors
Most of the story takes place from 1930s up until the end of WWII, but what I liked best were the little interruptions, reminding the audience that it takes place in the past, and lightening the load. The author doesn't seek to have humor or whatnot during Holocaust, which I found impressive, but instead lightens the mood during the present time, and also shows how much Ari's family has prospered. He also doesn't shy away from showing atrocities that happened through Holocaust, which will surprise many adults and children.
Rockville, The United States
Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Fiction
About this author
14-year-old author Christopher Huh debuts Keeping My Hope, a historical fiction graphic novel about the Holocaust. Christopher has been enjoying drawing and writing since he was very young. To write Keeping My Hope, Christopher spent over a thousand hours conducting research on WWII and the Holocaust. Created entirely with just paper and pencil, it took him about a year and a half to complete the book. Christopher takes pride in his unique drawing style and being a self-taught author.
Personally in my opinion, the pictures were American cartoon (sorry no Anime of Holocaust,) and they were in black and white. The author has many small details in his pictures and overall I found it an easy read and didn't get lost (unlike in one time I had to read manga for a college class...) The author as well doesn't shy away in drawing or portraying gruesome stuff either, which is what I thought he'd do.
I'm not giving five stars to an author due to his age. Even if I ended up hating the book, most likely thing I'd do is tone down my criticism and try apply more positive things to a book, but I would still give a bad rating. I'm giving five stars because the book has really impressed me and it exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be an incomplete version of something, well, from middle school where not a lot of information is given, but the author went above and beyond in giving a graphic novel that deals with things I only learned in college. I had to admit that at first the pictures did not impress me, but the more I got into the story, including the pictures, the more they grew on me. This also a first time I read a graphic novel and if that's how graphic novels are like, perhaps I should give a few more of them a chance. My major is history, thus I'm not an art critic or anything of the kind, but I'll do my best to give appropriate justice to the book. Highly recommended.
Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)