Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Endless Steppe

When I was in Grade Six I borrowed a book from my teacher. Memory is a funny thing. I never forgot the title. I only got to read half of it before I had to return it. I remember being totally absorbed in that book. I remember the open area classroom I was in.....I thought it was so strange (and noisy!) If I had to teach in a classroom like that I would hate it! I remember that my teacher was from Bombay, but I can't remember her name. I even remember wondering about what the girl was holding on the cover of the book (turns out it is yarn....which makes sense now!)

Recently I decided I should try to find that book and finish it! Lo and behold I did have the title right!! Tonight I finally got to finish it!

The story is about a Jewish family from Poland who get taken away during the war and sent to Siberia. The story is told from the daughter's perspective. They were quite well off in Poland and live a life of extreme poverty and manual labor in Siberia. They say in the book they're taken to Siberia because they're capitalists, so it must have been a time when communists were taking over Poland. I assumed it was because they were Jewish, but now I think otherwise. Their experiences are truly amazing.

I fund myself reflecting on myself as an 11 year old girl. I probably was amazed by the brutality of it all. I wonder if I knew about the Jewish holocaust back then? I probably really related to the sadness and wonder of this young girl's experience. I was probably amazed at their resilience. I wondered why, after all these years, I always remembered the title of that book.

Maybe it is because I was really ticked off at my teacher for not letting me finish that book. Glad I finally did!

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