Review: Saying Goodbye to Warsaw by Michael Cargill

Posted October 13, 2013 by Stephanie in 4 Star Review, Michael Cargill, Review, Saying Goodbye to Warsaw, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Title: Saying Goodbye to Warsaw
Author: Michael Cargill
Publication: September 8th 2013
Genre: Young Adult ~ Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback, 170 pages
Cover Rating: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.


Like any girl who is loved by her family, Abigail Nussbaum loves to chase butterflies, enjoys lying on her back looking for shapes in the clouds, and happily teaches young children to make daisy chains.

In the eyes of certain people, however, Abigail has committed a heinous crime. The year is 1940; the place is Poland; Abigail happens to be Jewish.

Along with half a million other Jews, Abigail and her family are evicted from their home and forced to live in the bombed out ruins of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

Although a handful decide to fight back, is the uprising strong enough to save Abigail’s spirit?

~My Thoughts:

First of all I want to thank Michael Cargill again for sending me his book for review. I really appreciate it. 
This book isn’t what I would usually read. Yes, I do like historical fiction but I wouldn’t pick up a book about war if I would see it in a bookstore or a library but when I read the description I found myself liking the sound of this book and I decided to take a chance on it. I am SO glad I did. This book really did something to me and I would actually rate it 4.5 but as some of you may know I don’t work with halves but still it should be that rating. Anyways, before I start the real review I would say that everyone should at least read this book once in their life. It’s pretty damn special. 

Saying Goodbye to Warsaw follows nine (almost ten)-year-old Abigail ‘Abbie’ Nussbaum and her family which include her older brother, Leo and their mother, Chana, during World War 2 in Poland. After being send to the Warsaw Ghetto life became increasingly hard for them but Abbie manages to live her life as best as she can and seeing things in a rather naive and although not entirely possitive but sweet kind of way.

First of all, let me say that I’m quite surprised by how this book overwhelmed and grabbed my attention. I must admit that the beginning was a little ‘eh’ for me. And I was going a little crazy with the author’s over-ussage of the word ‘whilst’. I’m not sure why it bothered me so much but there you go. But after the first 80 pages I couldn’t stop reading anymore and I was totally caught up in Abbie’s life. Actually, I was caught up in all the characters’ lives. Chana’s, Leo’s, Elenka’s even Borys’. My favorite character probably was Leo because I could relate to him the most. (And I just like male points of view the most)

As for the overall story, it was brilliant. And although I wasn’t sure about it all at first, I loved the writing when I think back about it. It was quite dark but that’s what I would expect from a book like this. And I loved it. Michael Cargill has a real talent writing a book like this that I admire.
The end was pretty shocking to me. When the resistance in Warshow arose I was hanging on every single word. And, yes, I was crying with that end. Actually I was already crying when something happened to Borys. How could I not? It’s been a while since a book has impressed me emotionally like this one had. Sure, I couldn’t expect a happy ending but yeah… I still hoped.

Overall Saying Goodbye to Warsaw by Michael Cargill was close to brilliant. Not perfect. It had some flaws like every book has but I really liked it. I even cried over it and I don’t usually cry with books. The characters were close to my heart which made the ending all the more emotional for me. I’d recommend it to everyone, even if you don’t like the genre or topic or whatever. Just read it. You might end up being surprised like me.

About the author:

I’m an author who lives in the sunny, green hills of England. As you can see in the photo to the left, I’m mostly bald.

Over the years people had often said that I should write a book so, in mid 2011, I did just that! Anyone wondering which book of mine to read first should start with Shelter from Thunder. ’tis short and available for free.

Feedback of any kind is always welcome.

Find him also on:
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3 responses to “Review: Saying Goodbye to Warsaw by Michael Cargill

  1. Hurrah! I've actually been Goodreads stalking you for days now, desperately waiting for you to update your status and review…!

    Ah, the mind of an anxious author is a stressful one.

    Glad you enjoyed the book though, Steph. It's actually my favourite of all the books I've written so far.

    Thanks for the review. It's interesting to hear what people's favourite character was in this book and sometimes the choices surprise me.

  2. Hi Stephanie! 🙂 Beautiful review! The subject of World War II and Warsaw Ghetto is particularly close to me, as I'm originally from Poland and I've learned about all the tragic and heartbreaking events that happened within the walls of Warsaw Ghetto in school. I can see how this story can be emotionally engaging and heartbreaking. I'm glad you decided to pick it up, even though it's not something you'd usually read! Thanks for sharing your review!!

    Evie @Bookish

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