Niagara Gazette

Features

November 19, 2012

REVIEW: Lewiston author's "Klara" examines life and death choices

Niagara Gazette — I would have never read Joe Leary’s book if he hadn’t pushed me.

When I first picked it up and saw those faces of the Jewish children on the cover, in a photo taken during the Holocaust, I knew there wasn’t much chance I would read his book.  

It wasn’t like I was avoiding the issue. For a long period of my life I read everything I could find about the Holocaust. I was kind of obsessed about it.

As a young woman, I simply could not believe that normal people could behave like such monsters. I wanted to know more about a culture that could be convinced to do such terrible harm to others — especially innocent little children. I couldn’t understand how normal, everyday people were unable to see the humanity in those who were so much more like them than unlike them.

I figured if I learned all I could about such evil then someday, if I ever saw society veering into such an attitude of hateful separation, I might be able to see it coming and work, somehow to try and stop it.

Then, I saw “Schindler’s List” and watched the scene where the officer casually stood on his balcony shooting the Jewish prisoners for sport and I realized I could no longer watch such things. 

I decided to keep my eyes on the heroes and protectors of humanity and continually remind myself of the good being done on the planet, rather than focus on something that inexplicably drew millions into the darkest era of human history. 

So, no, I had no plans to read the book “Klara.” I had read the summery and that was enough for me. Instead I published an excerpt of the book last winter in these pages. Afterwards, when the author, Joseph Leary of Lewiston, gently pressed me for a review the book, I passed “Klara” along to another editor who thought they might like to review it. And then, I let the matter drop. Leary did not.

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