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My Real Name is Hanna–extremes of human behavior

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My Real Name is Hanna

by Tara Lynn Masih

My Real Name is HannaMy Real Name is Hanna is the story of a Jewish girl and her family who live under horrible circumstances in Ukraine to escape death at the hand of the Nazis and others. This book by Tara Lynn Masih has much potential. Many parts of the survival tale are drawn from the story of a real family that had to live underground. The first part of the book bounces around a little and then settles down into a sequential tale. Although it is a sad story, I didn’t really find myself emotionally involved with any of the characters. Parts of the narrative got my attention, such as when family members were in danger. I wanted to see them survive, but mainly I wanted the book to be over.

The author uses words from other languages freely. I like the authenticity of that but I would have appreciated a glossary, and I think young people would find that helpful as well. The area the family lives in has been occupied by many countries so there are competing cultures and languages—Jewish, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and German.

I actually found the “Historical Notes” at the end of the book more interesting than the book itself. Unfortunately, the author includes her own political stance on current events in these historical notes. If she wants to put forth these ideas in her book, I would suggest she do it in an editorial type section separate from a discussion of the historical basis of the book. Like the author, I hope the day will come when we don’t need reminders of the Holocaust as cautionary tales against cruelty. I don’t think, however, that it is appropriate to use her historical notes as a platform for indoctrinating young people into her political views. The story should stand on its own merits, and young people are capable of reading the book and making their own moral conclusions.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Mandel Vilar Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3/5

Category: Historical Fiction, Teens

Notes: Interest Level—Ages 12 and up

Grade Level 10-12

Publication:   September 25, 2018—Mandel Vilar Press

Memorable Lines:

I see in my mind again those posters in the window, the big red letters, the lice, the blaming of Jews for the war. Someday, someone will betray us. For money, for food, for their own lives spared.

I can now hear what sounds like heavy boots approaching the house from down the lane, grinding the dirt and gravel with their murderous purpose.

When you’re hidden away, with no freedom, you crave news of the outside world as much as you crave food.


  1. An interesting precept.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    Hmm, when the historic notes are a more interesting read, that says a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. carhicks says:

    I have had this on my TBR since I read the first review of it. Thanks for the heads up about the personal political reviews. I still want to read this one, but will go in with my eyes wide open. Great review Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Good. I’ll be interested to read your opinion of the book. The personal politics is not in the story so that is good. The basis of the story was interesting, but the telling was not gripping for me. There are others who like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cozynookbks says:

    Excellent review, Linda. I’m sorry about the issues that diminished the quality of the book for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the best reviews I’ve read!

    Liked by 1 person

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