Book Review: Flowers in the Gutter by K. R. Gaddy

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Flowers in the Gutter
Author: K. R. Gaddy
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
ISBN: 9780525555414

Synopsis for Goodreads:
Flowers in the Gutter is told from the points of view Gertrude, Fritz, and Jean, three young people from working-class neighborhoods in Cologne, beginning with their pre-school years at the dawn of the Third Reich in the 1930s. Once the war began, Gertrude, Fritz, and Jean and their friends survived and even resisted in one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany. Ultimately, the war ended tragically for several young pirates, and Gaddy shows how post-war politics and prejudices led to these young men and women being branded criminals for decades after the war. 


Flowers in the Gutter is a nonfiction account of youth in Germany leading up to and during the Nazi rule. Told from the perspectives of three young people, Gertrude, Fritz, and Jean, readers experience an inside account of those who stood against Hitler, his soldiers, and the Hitler Youth groups, even as the government outlaws the gathering of regular youth groups. Suddenly music, hiking, and colourful clothes are symbols of rebellion. These accounts are constructed from journal entries, historical documentation from the Gestapo, and other government documents. Although there are some discrepancies between what the three youths write in their journals and the official documentation, it is completely understandable given the chaos, violence, and torture they each endured. Memories are often confusing, foggy, or incomplete.

This book is an excellent resource for young adult and adult readers alike. It tells a unique story of “unofficial” resistance groups like the Edelweiss Pirates who committed acts of passive resistance against Hilter’s regime, but were not recognized officially as part of the resistance movement. Their acts included distributing pamphlets, writing anti-Nazi graffiti, stealing Nazi supplies, etc. These three perspectives are brought together to provide an account of the dedication of many young Germans to fighting against their oppressive and cruel government, and to fight for what’s right at the risk of their own, and their families’, lives.

Certainly an interesting, well-researched, and insightful read. Definitely recommend!

Published by wornpagesandink

Hi! I'm Jaaron. I'm a book-obsessed blogger, writer, reader, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover. I have a B.A.H. in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Book and Magazine publishing. I've been fortunate to have worked in both trade and educational publishing. If you have any recommendations for excellent reads, let me know!

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