Thursday, November 2, 2017

Review: Something Beautiful Happened

Yvette Manessis Corporon knew that her family made a brave choice during WWII when her grandparents and their neighbors hid a Jewish family. She has heard the stories of their time together on the island of Erikousa and knows that Savvas and his family survived the war. But no one seems to know where the family went after the war ended. Yvette sets out to discover what happened to them, in the hopes that her family and their family can be reunited. She is overjoyed when she finally finds them, but her joy quickly turns to grief when her relatives are murdered by a neo-Nazi. Yvette and her relatives struggle to make sense of the knowledge that the bravery and joy of the past do not keep them safe from the evil of the present.

Something Beautiful Happened is one of those books that is both universal and specific. Few of us can claim that our grandparents saved someone's life during World War II, but all of us will learn that there is evil in the world that can hurt those we love. What do we do with that grief and anger?

There are moments when the writing in this book veers a bit to the cliche but ultimately, we have two choices when tragedy strikes: either we fall apart or we find those small, beautiful moments that carry us through. Yvette travels around the world and encounters many people, but she finds that they are bound together by the power of story and the unexpected discovery of hope. As the generations who survived the Holocaust are getting older, we must seize our last opportunities to hear about their lives. Their stories of bravery and kindness in one of humanity's darkest moments can give us the strength to hope that good does come after evil.

Something Beautiful Happened
A Story of Courage and Survival in the Face of Evil
By Yvette Manessis Corporon
Howard Books September 2017
320 pages
Read via Netgalley

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