Back to Back by Julia Franck

A book based on a fairy tale……

As with most books I seem to choose these days I did so with this one based on the front cover as a quick choice from the library. It looked heartfelt, yet heartbreaking and full of love and betrayal. It wasn’tquite  what I expected or how I expected it to unfold. I didn’t actually realise it was based on a German fairy tale until I had already begun reading and happened to flick back to the front insert where it held a small explanation. Perfect! I thought, perfect for the fairy tale category.

It all started well. I loved the beginning. It was heart wrenching to think about how these poor children were being treated. Being a Mum now I relate everything back to my little boy and it is all so much deeper and more wrought with emotion. To me it was stereotypically German back to backand knowing a small amount about German fairy stories in general I know that they are hard and barbaric and not particularly pleasant. I continued to read on, as predicted it didn’t prove to be any less uplifting as it progressed. The secrets, the coldness. the lies, the rape, the abuse continued until I unfortunately and with slight embarrassment (as i don’t like to think of myself as a quitter) gave up. I just couldn’t bring myself to continue. It felt like I could predict what was going to happen and realised that my life is too short to drag myself through. After 170 odd pages, my emotion towards it had evaporated and my next book sat watching me with an awful lot more potential charisma.

It would be an excellent read for anybody who wants to learn more about Germany during the 1930’s and wants to know more about communism and the Berlin Wall. The character structures are established and strong with dark childhoods that resonate through into their adulthood. It is excellently written, unfortunately is just wasn’t for me.




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