Author: Elie Weisel
Published: December 4, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Translated by Marion Wiesel
A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time.
Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and during the unspeakable Event. The gifts of marriage and children and grandchildren that followed. In his writing, in his teaching, in his public life, has he done enough for memory and the survivors? His ongoing questioning of God—where has it led? Is there hope for mankind? The world’s tireless ambassador of tolerance and justice has given us this luminous account of hope and despair, an exploration of the love, regrets and abiding faith of a remarkable man.
Elie Wiesel was one of the great heroes of the 20th century! His books have affected and touched so many people and his life has been an influence for good for so many years. He passed away 2 years ago and y’all know I’ve been on a Holocaust literature kick this year. This book is a short and easy read . . . but emotional like you would not believe! I finished reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas right before reading Open Heart, so I was already emotional. Elie Wiesel’s death popped up in my Facebook memories a little while ago and all the criticism and attacks made me angry and nauseous all over again. So, reading Open Heart again was actually more meaningful and emotional for me than the first time I read it.
I’m a strong believer in historical education, especially Holocaust education; reading how Mr. Wiesel questioned his teaching and writing, the information he conveyed, whether or not he said too much, killed me! His impact on the world should never be questioned or dismissed, and yet when he believed he might die, he did just that. I just wanted to cry . . . which I’ll admit, I did.
Another thing that struck me, was the idea that he acted like this was his first brush with death. Some would probably say that sounds ridiculous, considering everything he survived as a young kid; I found it refreshing and inspiring. He said that, in the Jewish tradition, he tried to live and focus on life and not death.
This book shows the mind of an inspirational, unselfish, and brilliant man and causes us to think about many things that either never occurred to us, or that we would rather not think about at all. Overall, I think everyone should read this book, especially now that Mr. Wiesel and many other Holocaust survivors have passed away. It’s encouraging, informative, emotional, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at the same time!