The story of a young French boy during the WWII German occupation. When five-year-old Alain, a little boy living in Paris, is strafed by German planes at the onset of the German invasion in 1940, his world is instantly turned on its head. During the next four years, like the children who fight to survive today’s many conflicts around the world, he grows up fast and must be mentally strong and alert to stay safe. With limited parental support, Alain and his young friends face increasing deprivation, devastating hunger, and constant fear of the occupying Germans soldiers, with their intimidating rules and random street blockades and checkpoints. He also dreads the Allies’ air raids, although he knows the bombers are on his side. After being silent for four years, one day all the churches of Paris ring their bells to celebrate the end of the occupation, and Alain welcomes the American GIs who fought bravely to liberate him. His story—of fear and courage, despair and determination—is laced with the realism only an author who lived through the occupation himself can provide, bringing this bittersweet, beautifully rendered novel to vivid life.
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Average rating from 3 members
When Paris was Dark: A Sliver of WWII History by Y.M. Masson is a haunting and harrowing tail of a young boy and his companions that are forced to go through things that no child should ever see or do, and a child that grew up too fast in occupied Paris during WWII. It was crushing to read what Alaine had to go through. I am glad for the uplifting ending. It was a great, and different view, of what the people of occupied Paris had to go through during this horrid time. 5/5 stars Thank you NetGalley and Dog Ear Publishing for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I wasn't sure how to feel about this book at first, it seemed somehow as if the author was very removed from the writing, but this was before I read the author bio, and figured out that perhaps This is one of the things that makes this book work. Rather than seeing the world through the eyes of an adult, whilst reading this book, you will experience it through the eyes of a child, who is living the reality, or in this case, reliving it. Unlike many books that have to do with this type of subject matter, this book does not end on a terrible note, and as hard as it is to imagine, has a sort of uplifting and believable ending. The writing itself is different but in a good way. The narrator makes you feel for his situation and that of his family, but without having to get into absolutely grotesque detail to do so. In the end, I thought this was a well-written and interesting book, with a lot to recommend it to others. It made me think about parts of the war and the aftermath that one is usually not exposed to. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley, all opinions are my own.