The Tatooist of Auschwitzs by Heather Morris is a book that has gotten a lot of notice recently. When I saw it available in audiobook I figured I would give it a try. I read mostly nonfiction and as this is marketed as “based on a true story” I thought I might like it.
About a third of the way in, I was struck by how much it read like a screenplay. There were just too many segments told dramatically. There were too many aspects that just seemed to turn out just perfectly for a good story. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good story – in fact, a very good story. It is just not nonfiction.
There are too many scenes included that feel like they were just ripped from existing films. The wily protagonist who trades amongst the guards and prisoners always helping the less fortunate and earning everyone’s respect along the way. The inmates playing a game of soccer against their captors. A torrid love affair between inmates that have to work and finagle their way to spend minutes together.
After finishing it, I saw that it was being made into a film – a very good fit for this book – if they do it well. I also saw that it was catching a lot of flack about being not at all representative of life in a concentration camp.
This is not a work of nonfiction and for being tricked into thinking it was, I feel a little miffed. But, it is an interesting story that I would probably only seen in film without the deception, so for that I am okay with being duped a bit.
by Chris Doelle