A Gift From the Enemy (Book) Review
Not so much?
A True Story of Escape in War-time Italy World War II is one of the most fascinating periods in history. So many people lost their lives, families were torn apart, rations of all sorts were imposed, and the list goes on and on. The telling and retelling of experiences from this time period are an […]
A True Story of Escape in War-time Italy
World War II is one of the most fascinating periods in history. So many people lost their lives, families were torn apart, rations of all sorts were imposed, and the list goes on and on. The telling and retelling of experiences from this time period are an important tool in making sure history does not repeat itself. In A Gift From the Enemy, author Enrico Lamet tells a different type of war story that details the experiences he and his mother went through as Jewish people living in Fascist Italy.
The bulk of the story in A Gift From the Enemy concentrates on the period of time that young Enrico and his mother spent living in an interment camp in a mountain village. As fairly modern and well to do people of the time, it was a huge shock for them to be thrown into an area where things like electricity and plumbing were simply not a part of daily life. Although the people living in the camps were given a stipend from the government, rations ensured that getting even essentials like soap was a difficult process. Despite all that, Enrico grew up secure in his mother’s love and care. Through separation from family and friends, bouncing from city to city and even country to country, they had each other through it all.
Written in the form of a life encompassing memoir, A Gift From the Enemy spans most of Enrico’s unusual life. Beginning with a pampered life living in a hotel, followed by a variety of homes along the way as the two of them separated from Enrico’s father to flee the war, he met many interesting people in a variety of walks of life, learning much from each along the way, despite being deprived from traditional schooling due to the war. The book also touches on something rarely discussed – how they had no inkling of what was occurring to their fellow Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany.
At times heartbreaking, but also interesting and uplifting, A Gift From the Enemy takes readers along on a different sort of World War II story, as they follow the exploits of a young Jewish boy who befriends everyone from a Catholic priest to a German soldier. The tale doesn’t end with the war, and it was a nice touch to follow the family as they recovered from the war and moved on with their lives. Although the story can be a bit confusing to follow at times, due to its meandering back and forth nature, it is an engaging and entertaining tale of a life well lived.