The Takeaway Men, by Meryl Ain – 4 Star Review!

41lvceciJhL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Story Rating: ****
Cover Rating: A+

Let me start by saying that I *technically* give this book a 4.5 star rating. When I was first given an opportunity to receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, I was ecstatic. History is one of my favorite things to learn about, and I’d done extensive research/reading on the holocaust. That desire for more knowledge had been stoked by The Diary of Anne Frank, which was one of my favorite books growing up. But this book? The Takeaway Men? It talks about what happened to Jewish (and Polish) families after the holocaust. I can’t think of any really great stories that talk about life after. Yes, I’ve read some nonfiction titles and while I enjoy those, it isn’t quite the same as getting lost in a story.

I have only a single complaint about the book. The beginning dragged a bit for me, although honestly, I can’t say why. I placed the book down and restarted twice because of this. But, about the second or third chapter, the story pulls you in and holds you  hostage. Again, I’m not sure why the beginning didn’t draw me in the same way, but it may just be a “me” thing.

The characters are well-developed, believable, and flawed. Anyone who has read my previous reviews knows I’m a sucker for humanly flawed characters – and Mrs. Meryl Ain delivered. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil the book in any form. BUT she has her characters doing realistically “bad” things and yet, you can’t help but love them nonetheless. Ain has you feeling for all of them – side characters and primary alike. The entire neighborhood came alive before my eyes and I lost a few nights of sleep.

The underlying mystery adds to the plot. What happened to the twin’s parents during the Holocaust? It’s a constant “background plot” that keeps you reading in the hopes you’ll learn. Of course, I can’t say whether you find out or not, but I can say that I would definitely be interested in reading anything else the author writes in the future.

The cover is intriguing and gives you a realistic idea of what to expect inside the story. The cover receives my ultra-rare “A+” rating (given to, I think, only three other covers ever) because it fills me with a sense of bittersweet melancholy… yet somehow also gives me the sense of hope. This feeling the cover gives me (and gave me before I ever began reading) is exactly how the story feels when you’re reading it.

Buy on Amazon

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