Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein is an exceptional book, engaging, page turning. And at times terrifying.
I’ve always wondered what types of people followed Hitler, how so many could have shared his thoughts, values. I now realize for many it was likely a slow deliberate process, beginning years before WW2. Starting as a volunteer organization in 1922 and required by law in 1936, children as young as 6 years old eagerly joined an organization called Hitlerjungen, similar in appearance to Boy Scouts, but far different in intention.
This story follows two young girls beginning in 1933 Germany, best friends until one joins the girl’s version of Hitlerjugend. Joining because it seemed the popular thing to do, she quickly transitioned from a giggling school girl to a fully endocrined nazi – truly believing the many appalling things she saw and did was ‘for the greater good’. Many of these actions had horrifying results for her once best friend and the friend’s family – for generations to come.
The story did seem a bit slow in places, but it always urged me forward, needing to know what happened next. It also led me to some further research about the Hitlerjugend – scary stuff.
I’m not quite sure I can say I enjoyed reading Wunderland, but I am glad I did. It is a story I will likely not forget. Highly recommend.