I chose to review this book because it is one of the best books I have ever read. Echo is a fantasy-based collection of three vignettes.The three vignettes are all tied together by a fairy tale, so it’s like there are three stories within a story. It is a beautifully moving tale of trials, tribulations, and a magical harmonica. I have never encountered a book like this one. In the vast number of books I have read, I don’t remember reading anything similar to this one.
One of the (sort of) short stories is about a teenage boy, named Friedrich, in Nazi Germany. He has a birthmark on his face, a talent for music, and a habit of conducting an imaginary orchestra, a combination that causes the other boys at his school to mock him, throw things at him and beat him up. He will have to get sterilized to prevent him from having children because they might inherit his “imperfections”, his sister is a Hitlerite, and his dad’s friend reports him for having a Jewish friend. It would be cool to meet Friedrich because I would like to hear first-hand stories of the Nazi occupation of Germany.
Two years later, on the other side of the world, Mike Flannery and his brother Frankie live at Bishop’s Home for Friendless and Destitute Children. A few weeks before Frankie is shipped off to a state home, the brothers are adopted by a wealthy woman. But it is not a happy ever after. The third vignette is about a girl named Ivy, living in California during World War Two. She and her family have to take care of a house and farm left behind by a Japanese family forced into an internment camp.
The main idea of the book is that a small instrument such as the harmonica, which is thought of by most as a toy, can inspire courage and determination, even save someone’s life. Another thing I think the writer is trying to show, is how your mind thinks of worst-possible scenarios based on information that could mean several things.
I really love this book, especially the plot and the way the author creates tension. I give it five stars. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves reading.