Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Extra by Kathryn Lasky - ESSENTIAL

Lasky, Kathryn The Extra, 307 p. Candlewick, 2013.  Mature Content: PG (mentions of infidelity, forced hysterectomies); Language: PG (4 swears, o ‘f’); Violence: PG (Nazi’s).  

During World War II, Hitler had a favorite filmmaker and actress – Leni Riefenstahl – and she is making her masterpiece.  In order to complete it, however, she needs lots of extras, or movie slaves, as they think of themselves.  All of these slaves, though, are captured Gypsies, including Lilo and her mother and a boy, Django, who works hard to keep himself, the other Gypsies, and especially Lilo, alive under the harsh, cruel Nazi regime and the vagaries of film-making.  

This little known part of Hitler’s Germany is stark and interesting, but definitely more mature than most of Lasky’s novels.  I loved it and found the topic fascinating, but it is gritty and bald-faced, especially when it talks about the hysterectomies that Hitler’s doctors forced on the women as a part of his solution.  It is fascinating history.  

MS – OPTIONAL.  HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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