Eisele, Terry & Riddle, Jonathon – With Only Five Plums Book 3: Life in the East is Worthless



With Only Five Plums Book 3: Life in the East is Worthless

I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you’re already read the first two volumes of this series, as it would be silly for you to read a review of the final volume otherwise. This third volume begins with Anna finally getting back to her home village, where she discovers that it has been completely removed from the map. The Germans didn’t just destroy the buildings and kill the people, they also rerouted rivers, smoothed down hills and generally did everything they could to remove any trace of her old village. Terry and Jonathon do a heartbreaking job of showing how this process was completed based on accounts after the fact, but the Germans also taped everything (this information was used at the Nuremburg trials). This would have been the most heartbreaking thing in any other story, but at this point we still aren’t clear on what has happened to all of the people from this town, especially Anna’s family. This is all revealed, with the men being separated from their families and killed and the children being separated and sent away (and told cruel lies about being reunited with their families). Some of the children were sent to German families and adopted, and in one of the only uplifting parts of this story we learn that most of these children were eventually recovered and returned to their surviving family members. But the ones that didn’t survive, the ones that weren’t adopted… that’s a brutal tale. It’s only human nature to want a happy ending out of an unimaginable atrocity like this, for at least something good to happen to Anna after everything she’s been through, but her story of what happened to her family took any hope for that away. Still, this series should be required reading, and I’m hoping it ends up being taught in classrooms. If you think that humanity as a species couldn’t possibly do something like this again and we should stop remembering this horrible time, look at the state of world affairs. It’s easier than ever to think of different people as “other,” as not really people at all but just numbers, and this will only increase as global warming really kicks in and resources get scarcer. Without some preparation for this likelihood I’m afraid that we’ll be back at a similar juncture in human history sooner than anybody thinks. Sorry to get all grim on you, and I’m hoping that I’m just being unduly cynical, but either way you should give this series of graphic novels a chance. It’s vitally important that we’re not allowed to forget what happened. $9


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