Author: Pierre H. Matisse
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A breath-taking memoir that accounts many hair raising escapades during World War II in France.
Pierre Matisse was born into an artistic family. Many people know of his grandfather, Henri Matisse, who was a famous artist. Pierre loved his parents and his younger brother, but once the war started, his family began to be torn apart. He was forced to take another name to become Pierre Leroy and was no longer part of his family, at least on paper. This began a personal vendetta against Adolf Hitler and the Germans so that he could one day finally be reunited with his family and no longer be missing.
Pierre’s memoir recounts his time as a young boy in France as well as Spain including the Spanish civil war led by General Franco. He then returned to France with his family as the German Nazis started to occupy France. He was part of the evacuation of Paris and even helped his father in some of the French underground’s activities. He was transferred between boarding schools in his mother’s attempt to keep him safe and was eventually sent to Normandy to live with his “grandparents on paper” just days before D-Day and the Allied forces arrived. Needless to say, trouble finds Pierre without a problem.
This book was a really interested look at World War II history from the French side. The majority of the book is based around the WWII time frame, but does have some time before and after. Needless to say, Pierre was a very interesting person. The history that is presented really takes you to the time and place. There is a lot of raw emotion of tragic events that befall Pierre and his family, so beware before reading.
I felt like the end of the book was a little rushed. There was a lot of time spend from 1939 to 1946 and then very little devoted from then until present day. I bet he had a lot of grand adventures, but just had trouble figuring out which ones to share with everyone.
I recommend this book for anyone who loves history or memoirs!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.