Review: Two Brothers by Ben Elton

Two Brothers by Ben Elton

Two Brothers is a heartrending story of two boys growing up under the darkening shadow of the Nazis. Born in Berlin in 1920 and raised by the same parents, one boy is Jewish, his adopted brother is Aryan. At first, their origins are irrelevant. But as the political landscape changes they are forced to make decisions with horrifying consequences.

Two Brothers is the touching and very human story of growing up as a Jew in the Third Reich.

Set Second World War and its lead up, this novel really brought home how suddenly and catastrophically life changed for German Jews under Hitler’s rule.

Literally overnight we see life change for Freida, Wolfgang and their boys – the Two Brothers this book is named for, Otto and Paulus.

Children they used to play with turn on them, at school they are forced to sit apart from their classmates, their mother no longer allowed to be a doctor. This book made it all so real for the reader – underpinned of course by the knowledge that real people actually through those same events.

I found Dagmar the brother’s combined love interest to be a little two dimensional and at points a bit annoying. I could see why they could have idolised her as children but as they grew her redeeming qualities seemed to get fewer and fewer.

All in all though a well written book that I wanted to pick up and keep reading, a book that carrys an important message from history as well as being a good read.

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