So I just finished The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. It's about the Holocaust, and you might think with the black cloud that has settled over my 2008 that it's much too dark a subject for me right now. But here's the thing: books like these are infused with a hope so strong it actually makes me feel better.
Also, specifically in this book, there is a idea that I've really latched onto. The main character has time traveled from present day back to 1942, and she wants to warn those around her that the Germans are lying, that the "resettlement" will tear their families apart, that the ovens are not for baking, but for death. But as she watches those around her, their faces lit with hope, she realizes she can't take that away from them. She realizes her knowledge of the future will not benefit them at all. Ultimately she cannot strip them of the only thing they have left.
I'm thinking hope is quite a gift to give someone. And who knows what all a person might overcome when armed with such a powerful emotion?
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
- Oscar Wilde