Wednesday, May 31, 2023

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin


DNF @ 12%

I feel like people more qualified to speak on this subject have already addressed why this book is potentially problematic, and since I'm not Jewish I can't really speak to the quality of the representation in this book regarding Jewish culture, traditions, and history. Reading this book didn't really give me an impression of deliberate desire to do harm, however; it felt like it had a Christian agenda because it was a Christian romance and definitely probably came from a place of ignorance or privilege, but I personally don't think the people who liked this book are necessarily contributing to a culture that is toxic unless they are also participating in deliberate misinformation or erasure.

I'm not denying that Nazi fetishism or Holocaust denial is wrong. Those things are definitely both wrong. But I think it's dangerous to force people to portray history with a total lack of nuance. Evil people are evil but they're still humans, and I think decreeing that all villains have to be obvious villains with no redeeming traits veers dangerously close to propaganda. Should this book have been written? Probably not. But it seems like every time a book of this nature is cancelled, a lot of people do it because they're seeking clout. Some do it to inform, and they do it well, with many detailed points about why they felt the book is wrong-- and I do not think those people should be attacked for their opinions when they are trying to speak and educate on why a subject was done poorly and potentially harmfully. But the people who made this book the posterchild for "Nazi romances = bad" and go out and attack the reviews of people who enjoyed the book for being Nazi sympathizers aren't really helping their cause as much as they think they are, and I think this upends the whole (again, very valid) debate into a toxic cycle of finger-pointing in a zero-sum game of who's more moral than whom.

I recently watched a YouTube video that talked about how people approach toxic or problematic content. And it had some great points that I really loved, including the point that it isn't necessarily a bad thing to enjoy something problematic as long as you might consider why it is. I personally didn't even enjoy this book that much. I found it a little boring. The heroine felt like a Mary Sue character in a very romanticized portrayal of a WWII setting. After letting this book sit unread for several months on my Kindle, I'm finally throwing in the towel.

1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars

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