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Review: Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler

October 23, 2012

Trudi Kanter was a milliner in Austria just before the outbreak of World War II.  When the Nazis invaded Austria, she and her loved ones noticed some changes but weren’t unduly alarmed.  On a business trip to Paris, she came to understand the severity of things and knew that she and her family must escape Austria while they could.  Initially, her parents and future husband resisted but they came to realize she was right.  Things were more difficult by then so leaving the country was no easy task.  Kanter recounts their journey in Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler.

Kanter’s memoir was first published in 1984 in the UK but it never found its audience so it went out of print.  It was recently rediscovered and his been republished to lots of praise.  It adds an element mostly unheard of in World War II memoirs – the view of someone who was able to escape – and I liked it a lot, but I didn’t love it the way many people did.

I admired Trudi’s spunk and drive and feel that she must have been ahead of her time – she was the driving force in getting her loved ones to safety.  I also appreciated her loyalty to the women who worked for her, but I felt like I didn’t really know her or her motivations.  Since much of the book was written in present tense, I wanted passion and emotion, but didn’t feel like the book delivered either.  I knew time was of the essence for Trudi’s family, but I never felt it as I read the book.

I’m guessing that the book was written after Trudi’s family was relocated and wonder if I would have enjoyed it if it had been written in the past tense.  At times the story seemed a little disjointed to me, but I’m sure that’s a reflection of the time period.  This book won’t be on my list of favorites for the year, but I did enjoy it.  Since others have enjoyed it more than I did, I think those who enjoy reading about World War II should give Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler a try.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
17 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2012 7:15 am

    It’s always moving to read about families who lived through this horrible time. I like the milliner’s angle.

  2. October 23, 2012 8:14 am

    Interesting. One sort of sees why it never found an audience the first time around.

  3. Beth F permalink
    October 23, 2012 8:23 am

    Too bad it didn’t have more of an impact.

  4. October 23, 2012 10:18 am

    Sounds like I might give this book a try.

  5. zibilee permalink
    October 23, 2012 10:36 am

    I am often turned off when I can’t connect properly with the characters, and since I have been steadily burnt out on WWII fiction, I think I will give this one a pass. You did a great job with the review though. I can see how some readers would love this!

  6. October 23, 2012 12:26 pm

    Thanks again for an honest and concise review, Kathy.

  7. October 23, 2012 1:31 pm

    I am glad you posted this review. This book has been on my reading list for awhile now, but since the genre isn’t really up my alley I have continuously skipped over it. I think it is VERY important for a period/war novel to convey to the reader the passion of the struggles and the powerful emotions of the characters. I will still definitely read it, however maybe not in the short term.

  8. October 23, 2012 2:00 pm

    It sounds like an interesting memoir. It’s too bad her character and motivations didn’t really come through.

  9. October 23, 2012 5:29 pm

    I love the title of this one. It’s definitely an eye-catcher.

    It sounds like an interesting memoir; it’s too bad the story turned out to be a tad disjointed for you. One of the most recent books I read was the same for me, and I was disappointed.

  10. October 23, 2012 5:51 pm

    I want all of those things that you wanted to. I liked reading about the book but I’m not sure if this is one that I would be drawn to even though I enjoy reading about this period in history and all of the stories from many different POV’s

  11. October 23, 2012 6:23 pm

    This one sounds interesting, but it’s too bad it fell a bit flat.

  12. October 23, 2012 8:46 pm

    Her family owes her a debt that can never be repaid.

  13. Patty permalink
    October 23, 2012 10:14 pm

    I count on you to keep me aware of books like this one!

  14. bookingmama permalink
    October 24, 2012 10:35 pm

    Now I’m really curious to read this. Not sure that I would have noticed the issues with the tense but now I will!

  15. October 25, 2012 12:26 am

    She definitely seems like she was ahead of her time!

  16. October 25, 2012 10:03 pm

    I am a huge fan of stories from WWII so this is one I will eventually have to read. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

  17. October 26, 2012 2:21 pm

    I generally enjoy memoirs, so I may check this one out even though the present tense might bother me abit too.

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