I honestly finished The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski days and days ago, but I was so disturbed by what I had just read that it took me a while of NOT thinking about to be able to write down my thoughts on it.
First of all, if you are AT ALL faint of heart or can’t stand to read about children/women/men/animals/pretty much any noun being tortured, then you shouldn’t read this book. It’s rather horrifying. Yet, I could not stop reading it.
I was perusing a used book store and came across it - the cover really caught my eye (a painting by Heironymous Bosch – whose paintings, although twisted and often dark, are beautiful all the same [much like The Painted Bird]) and then the price - .75 cents! Book ballin’ on a budget.
The book claimed to be about the story of a young boy who survives World War II by being passed around from village to village. His parents, both anti-Nazi, determined that the best way for their 6 year old son to survive the holocaust was to be sent away to a distant village. They had no one they knew or trusted to send him off with, so where he would end up was all of their best guesses. Turns out he ends up in the worst places possible. They young boy is never named, but you follow him as he sees and undergoes unthinkable and horrible atrocities over a series of years. He is constantly mistaken as a Gypsy or a Jew due to his dark hair and eyes.
I think what caused me to continue reading was not because the book was well written, or an instant classic, or heartwarming – it was because I wanted to see if the boy would survive all of the awful tortures he was put through. I wanted to see if one more beating, or rape, or heartbreak would kill him. I mean, if I saw even one tenth of what this kid went through, I’d be so emotionally scarred that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Even just reading some of the things made me want to hide under a bed.
I do recommend this book. I really do. Just not for anyone with a heart condition or a sensitive stomach.
Now for some pictures by Bosch because, well, I just want to.
On to reading!