Author : Ruta Sepetys
Publisher : Speak
Date Read : January 11, 2013
Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.
Between Shades of Gray is a heartbreaking story in which thousands of people from Lithuania were deported to Siberia in 1941. The story was taken from the point of view of Lina. She is a fifteen years old young girl who has a great skill in drawing. Her brother Jonas is just a boy who loves his mother, papa and Lina so much. Who would have guessed that they will be taken to places far away from their house and became the victim of forced labor.
Everything is fine back then until NKVD came and tore their lives apart. They are treated as if they are animals, NKVD even called them pigs. They know nothing about what is going, where they are heading to, when will NKVD release them, etc but the NKVD don't care and won't explain a thing. The only choice they had is to go with them or die. It's not only Vilkas family who was deported to Siberia, but others too.
Once they were taken out from their houses, they never had enough foods, clothes, medicines, etc. Most of them come from a good family but they are forced to do anything that they are not familiar with. They do things that will jeopardize their lives. Every chances to mail letters, steal foods or woods they do in order to survive. At the critical condition, everything became valuable for them.
Blisters wept on my hands. Our fingers were caked with dirt. They wouldn't give us a ladle or cup. We bent like dogs, each taking turns lapping out of the bucket while the blond guard drank leisurely from a large canteen. The water smell fishy, but I didn't care. My knees looked like raw meat, and my back ached from bending for hours.
My favorite character is Elena, the mother of Lina and Jonas. She is a strong woman, an angel, a heroine to all of the inhabitants. She acts as a translator for them, works exceptionally hard to get foods so she can share it to the others. She also often gave her bread to her children although it means that she won't have food left to eat. At this point, most people are forced to act selfish in order to protect themselves, but she still cares not only to her children, but to other people too. Lina, Jones and Elena are a force of nature. They do not simply sit and work as what they have been told, but they also contributed in helping the others to remain strong and have faith in themselves. This agonizing journey also brings Lina to Andrius.
This is a journey that none of us would want to happen in our life. But sometimes things just happen. It pains me to turn the page to another page and read how injustice life goes on them. However, It's an exceptional book that teaches us humanity, kindness, love and more.
Rating : 5/5