The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay

This book was promoted as challenging, haunting, sad, intriguing, etc., with comparisons to Sophie’s Choice. Despite my skepticism at such high praise, I found it to be all of those things. The story begins in a Paris apartment in July 1942, as the French police, in an effort to please the Nazis, go beyond what was requested in rounding up Jews for deportation. As in all Holocaust novels, difficult decisions are made quickly, and sometimes those decisions turn out to be mistakes. In this case, the difficult decision that shapes the book is made by a child, 10-year-old Sarah. Decades later, American transplant Julia Jarmond researches the round-up and uncovers a link to Sarah, a link that she pursues despite interference from her odious French husband.


The book moves quickly, and it’s hard to write a review without giving away too much. I found some of the situations to be more plausible than others, but aside from one huge coincidence, there were no distractions. Some of the characters were well-drawn and other (like the loathesome husband) were too one-dimensional. But these are quibbles rather than substantive criticisms. The book held my interest from beginning to end, and I had a hard time putting it down. On that basis, I will recommend it.


As for animals, a few pets are mentioned, including a dog who barks out a couple of well-timed and essential warnings. None of these pets come to harm, making this book SAFE for animal lovers.


December 18, 2008 - Posted by | Book Reviews | , , , , ,


  1. Looks interesting. What’s the youngest readers you’d recommend?

    Comment by sandysays1 | December 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. Interesting question — off the top of my head, I’d say it could cross over into “young adult” territory, so maybe high school? There is some ambiguity, and the bad marriage and the Holocaust are major plot drivers. Beyond that, I don’t think this is an intellectually demanding book, and there are no sex scenes or anything of that nature. The issue would be whether the reader is mature enough to handle the ambiguity and a fair amount of sorrow.

    Comment by esheley | December 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the recommendation, it looks interesting!

    I laughed and laughed at the Star Trek/Search for the Holy Grail utube video. That was great! I’ve watched both Star Trek and the Monty Python movie a lot and quite enjoyed the mixture of the two.

    Sharon (Rusty’s mom)

    Comment by Rusty | December 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. Sarah’s Key just destroyed me. I had to put it down and cry when the very tragic thing happened (which we knew happened long before Sarah could admit it.) I cry all the time when sad things happen to animals in books but I think this may be the first time I’ve cried over a person.

    Comment by gustines | November 1, 2009 | Reply

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