Now Available !
What She Lost reached #1 New Release
in the following categories:
What She Lost reached # 1 Best Seller in both the Teen and Young Adult Biographical Fiction & Teen and Young Adult Military Historical Fiction eBook category, and #10 in Young Adult Holocaust Historical Fiction eBook category
What She Lost!
WHAT SHE LOST
A review by Deanna Boe
Special Features Contributor to the Akron Hometowner
Committee member for "All Roswell Reads"
It is always a pleasure to discover a new author, especially when that author does such an outstanding job of writing about a topic that is easily thought to be written about enough – the Holocaust. My question is, can there ever be enough? Especially today, when we are experiencing the escalation of racism in our own country as viewed on TV and in the newspapers. What makes this book unique is the fact that it is written by the granddaughter of the book’s narrator, Sarah, who was sent to a ghetto and then concentration camps in Poland. Melissa Hunter is able to capture the true essence and feelings of that time frame; she manages to give you the impression that it is actually her grandmother who is doing the writing. Melissa’s words are well written and powerful to remember.
I have written over 500 book reviews in the last twelve years, and the books that always stand out and remain foremost in my memory are those that are written by people who have either experienced what they are writing about firsthand, or know someone who has lived through the narrative. First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung is one such book. It tells about the Khmer Rouge and how they murdered 2 million of the 6 million people who lived in Cambodia in the 1970’s. Unlike the Holocaust, this genocide is often overlooked. Miss Hunter’s book will leave a lasting impression as well.
What She Lost pulls you in from the very beginning and keeps your attention right to the end. It is written as a novel and is told in first-person point-of-view, as if Hunter’s grandmother is actually telling the story. Sarah Waldman is thirteen years old when she describes what life is like in her small Polish town of Olkusz, Poland. The writing is such that you can actually see and feel what is happening all around Sarah and her family . . . the small apartment they live in and the curtained bedroom area that she shares with her older sister, her mother busy cooking what little there is to provide. You experience the love Sarah has for not only her sister, but her older brothers and especially her young twin brothers. You obviously know what is just around the corner for them, but the writing captures your interest in such a way you can only hope that this is one family where they all survive.
The storyline skips over most of the gruesome happenings once they were taken from their village in 1942 until May 1945. We know how she and her cousin Gutcha were taken together, and it is amazing to find out they are still together three years later. Their love and care for each other definitely helped each of them to stay alive. We do not learn the worst of what happened to Sarah until she breaks down and tells the man she met after being released from the camp and will soon marry. My only disappointment was the ending, when they are helped by a Russian to escape to the American sector where they will find freedom. In short, what happened then and how do they get to the United States? I can only hope for a sequel to this wonderfully written book. In my personal observation I feel the writing far exceeds the popular novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
Year of the Debut Author Interview
Featured on Ten Penny Blog
Tell us a little about your book and how you came to write it.
My novel What She Lost is based on my grandmother’s life as a young woman in Poland both before and after the Holocaust. Growing up, my grandmother and I were very close, and she shared many stories of her youth with me over the years. I always knew that I wanted to write her story one day. When I was in my early twenties, I recorded an hour-and-a-half conversation with her that became the foundation of my novel. I’m so glad I was able to capture her words for posterity, and to pass on to my own children and future branches of our family tree.
Click the link below for the complete interview
An Interview with Melissa W. Hunter
Featured on Women Writers, Women's Books
Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A: Not to give up! I began writing in middle school and knew early on that writing was my passion. For me, it is a cathartic experience. As I got older and decided to pursue writing as a career, I faced a lot of obstacles, from being able to make a living doing something I loved to dealing with rejection. I would definitely tell my younger self to tune out the nagging thoughts and self-doubt that come with rejection and, most importantly, not to lose the joy that writing has given me.
Click the link below for the complete interview