Mini-reviews: Let Me Go by Helga Schneider; Firmin by Sam Savage; and French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Title: Let Me Go
Author: Helga Schneider
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Barbara Rosenblat
First line: I’m seeing you again after twenty-seven years, Mother, and wondering whether in all that time you have understood how much damage you did to your children.

I put Let Me Go on my list of audiobooks to listen to after reading Sandy‘s review. This memoir is the story of Helga Schneider’s last meeting with her mother. After an estrangement of over twenty years, Helga has come to Vienna to visit her mother in a nursing home, hoping to find some answers for her childhood and her mother’s choices. Her mother abandoned her family when Helga was a child in order to devote her entire self to the Nazi Party. As a member of the SS, she worked as a guard at two of the worst concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Ravensbruck. Helga struggles between a daughter’s desire to have a relationship with her mother and the extreme revulsion she feels for what her mother did for the SS and the hatred for the Jews that she still holds firmly.

Listening to this audiobook was an eerie, chilling experience. I thought about giving it a full review, but Sandy already did such a wonderful job, that I simply point you to hers.

Title: Firmin
Author: Sam Savage
Genre: Fantasy?
Publisher: Delta
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy borrowed from a friend
First line: I had always imagined that my life story, if and when I wrote it, would have a great first line: something lyric like Nabokov’s “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins”; or if I could not do lyric, then something sweeping like Tolstoy’s “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Firmin is a rat who began life in a shredded copy of Finnegan’s Wake, and lives most of his life in a bookstore. His isn’t a very happy life, being a rat, but he has the ability to read and longs to be human. This is a book for book-lovers and also anyone who is sad at the loss of historic neighborhoods, as Firmin’s home was in Scollay Square, a vibrant section of Boston that became impoverished and was eventually doomed to destruction for the sake of development.

Title: French Milk
Author: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Graphic memoir
Publisher: Touchstone
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: During January of 2007, my mother and I lived in a small rental apartment in Paris in order to celebrate my mother’s turning fifty (and my turning twenty-two).

I loved the art in this memoir of Ms. Knisley’s trip to Paris with her mother, but I didn’t love the story as much as some other bloggers have. It’s probably my age and the fact that I’ve never been privileged to travel to Europe, but I kept wanting to tell Lucy to snap out of her self-focus and anxiety and enjoy the fact that she was in Paris! She is definitely a talented cartoonist, though, and I look forward to her next book.

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16 Responses to Mini-reviews: Let Me Go by Helga Schneider; Firmin by Sam Savage; and French Milk by Lucy Knisley

  1. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    I guess from perspective Lucy behaved like I’ve seen a lot of young people behave. I wasn’t that kind of kid, but I think it’s common enough. I’ve been wanting to listen to Let Me Go since I read Sandy’s review too!
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Review: The Turning: What Curiosity Kills by Helen Ellis =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Beth – I still liked it, it simply got a little old to read about all the angst when I’m thinking, “Shut up and look around you – you are in Paris!” LOL

  2. Great mini-reviews! Between you and Sandy, I really want to listen to Let Me Go. Sorry you didn’t enjoy French Milk as much as I did.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I put Let Me Go on my list after reading Sandy’s review too. I had it checked out from the library at one point and then had to return it without reading it. I know it will have an emotional impact on me when I finally do get around to reading it.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathleen – it is definitely emotional – cannot even imagine being in that daughter’s shoes.

  4. softdrink says:

    If I was in Paris, I wouldn’t have been boo-hooing in my milk like she was!
    .-= softdrink´s last blog ..The Outside Boy =-.

  5. Let Me Go is on my wish list and I’ve been going back and forth about Firmin. So glad you liked both, Carrie.
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Play Time =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – Firmin is a quick read – and definitely an original idea!

  6. Firmin sounds really interesting. Added that one to my reading wishlist.
    .-= Amanda (A Bookshelf Monstrosity)´s last blog ..Books by Theme: Loners =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Amanda – very interesting – wonder where he came up with the idea of writing about a rat?

  7. heidenkind says:

    Thank you for reminding me I’ve been meaning to read French Milk! I don’t know if I’ll like it or not, but I do want to see the illustrations of Paris. 🙂
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Revelation =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Tasha – I really liked the illustrations – and you’re much closer to the author’s age, so you’ll probably relate with her a little better. 🙂

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