To Cross a Line, Book Report
To Cross a Line is a book based on a true story about a 17 year old Jewish boy who lives in a small town of Germany. The experiences Egon goes through show the reader the effects that the early Holocaust had on Jews that students might not typically realize. The author, Karen Ray, tells the story in such a way that the reader can easily put him or herself inside the story and really feel what Egon is going through. The student might look at what happens to Egon and think that those things are so unfortunate that they could never happen. The truth is though, that this book is based on a true story and things like what happened to Egon really did occur in the daily lives of Jews living in Nazi Germany (and eventually other German-ruled countries). The student can really get a feel of what it would be like to live as a Jew during the early years of the Holocaust. Some things students might be able to relate to are: being accused of things he/she didn’t do, being hopeless in what seems to be a hopeless situation, and finding help in the places one would least expect. There is nothing in this book that should offend anyone that is not also the truth.
Through reading this book a student can deepen their understanding of what role the Nazis played in the Holocaust, and more specifically the role the Gestapo and the SS played in the role of the Holocaust. Egon had many encounters with them throughout the book. On the other side of that, the student can also get a glimpse of not just the Nazis that followed orders, but also the ones who pitied the Jews and helped them out of tough situations such as the Danish police officer. A student can also deepen his/her understanding of Jewish life before and during the Holocaust. Ray writes about the jobs Jewish people had, the places they lived, and roles they played in their community. Students also learn about Kristalnacht and what that meant to Jewish shop owners. Overall, this is a very informative, realistic, and suspenseful book for readers ages 12 and over.