A Night Divided had me hooked from the first pages. The main character, Greta, lives with her mother and her brother in East Germany, while her father and other brother have escaped to the other side. Trapped in the city by the Berlin Wall, the three are compelled to stifle any misgivings they may have about the Communist government and the Stasi. Early on in the story, Greta devises a plan to break free, and the tension surrounding whether her plan will achieve success consumes much of the rest of the story.
The hardship of daily life and the trauma of living under a Communist regime are depicted with some inconsistent historical accuracy. The story was engaging, and I legitimately wanted to see if Gerta and her family would achieve success in their task. With that said, the book could have been much better researched. As many German readers have pointed out, there were quite a few historical inaccuracies that made the major plot points implausible. Also, as a Goodreads reviewer noted, "to stay (in East Germany) is bad, to leave is bad." A bit more discussion of those difficult choices would have provided levity to the plot. However, with that caveat noted, for students unfamiliar with life under Communism, this book provides a sound introduction.More info →