“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.” William Faulkner
I rarely feel shame. (After all, I won the parent lottery.) But if I’m being frank like Mr. Faulkner, I feel a twinge of humiliation for having never read certain books. Anna Karenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, As I Lay Dying (sorry William), Night, and The Color Purple are titles that automatically leave me shamefaced. Imagine my relief when I found myself with a little free time in untouched nature with Elie Wiesel’s most famous novel. Like the crisp mountain air, I slowly inhaled the holocaust survivor’s story.
The Nobel Committee referred to Wiesel as “a messenger to mankind.” His story about surviving Nazi death camps as a teenage Jew is both horrifying and sobering. Despite a natural propensity to be faithful, Wiesel endures a long night of doubt and despair and anguish. He was unafraid to ask the question “Where was God at Auschwitz?” This makes Wiesel a uniquely believable witness because he is so morally honest. He reminds me that indifference is likely worse than hatred, hope is hard to extinguish, and resiliency is a close relative to determination. Shame aside, like The Diary of Anne Frank, everyone should read this book. Wiesel himself said, “Where Anne Frank’s book ends, mine begins.”
Props to Arianna non Grande for not feeling ashamed.