Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Emma Craigie “Chocolate Cake with Hitler”


This is a moving account of the last days in Hitler’s bunker for Helga Goebbels. Those of us who know our 20th century history will perhaps find the first person narrative somewhat ironic. Nevertheless, it works and gives us some closeness to this main character.  
Emma Craigie offers us a very convincing character in Helga. Craigie successfully shows us a child’s point of view. And she does show us, rather than telling us. She achieves this partly through very good use of the senses. We can see, hear, smell and taste the life in the bunker. We watch the big “Uncle Leader” gradually disintegrate.   
Craigie seems to face many of the issues that I face in my project.
She too has had to span a long period of time. She attains this by interspersing the days in the bunker with memories form the past. She spans 1936 to 1945. I go from 1938 to 1947, though I also have flashbacks to 1936 and 1925.
She has also had to make up some characters and make up some of the details of the lives of some of the real people.     
She too has had find out exactly which facts might be verifiable.
She too had some really useful help form some people brave enough to tell their stories.   
I’m intrigued to see that she has also included a glossary.
And is there after all some justice? Does my story have a slightly more upbeat ending? Despite the concern about Clara Lehrs? Maybe, maybe not. Both stories rely somewhat on the reader knowing some of the background.   

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