Sunday, 24 April 2016

Review: All That I Am by Anna Funder

All That I AmAll That I Am by Anna Funder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb (from Goodreads):
All That I Am is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices some people make for their beliefs, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places.

When eighteen-year-old Ruth Becker visits her cousin Dora in Munich in 1923, she meets the love of her life, the dashing young journalist Hans Wesemann, and eagerly joins in the heady activities of the militant political Left in Germany. Ten years later, Ruth and Hans are married and living in Weimar Berlin when Hitler is elected chancellor of Germany. Together with Dora and her lover, Ernst Toller, the celebrated poet and self-doubting revolutionary, the four become hunted outlaws overnight and are forced to flee to London. Inspired by the fearless Dora to breathtaking acts of courage, the friends risk betrayal and deceit as they dedicate themselves to a dangerous mission: to inform the British government of the very real Nazi threat to which it remains willfully blind. All That I Am is the heartbreaking story of these extraordinary people, who discover that Hitler’s reach extends much further than they had thought.

Gripping, compassionate, and inspiring, this remarkable debut novel reveals an uncommon depth of humanity and wisdom. Anna Funder has given us a searing and intimate portrait of courage and its price, of desire and ambition, and of the devastating consequences when they are thwarted.

My thoughts:
This is the first Anna Funder book I have read and I really enjoyed it. She draws on great imagination to weave fiction and facts together for an intense storyline.

I love the main characters. Dora is the feisty, strong and fearless feminist of the story. While she is not one of the narrators, we live a lot of the book through her actions and beliefs. Her cousin, Ruth, is one of the narrators. While she isn't as fearless as her cousin, I found I related a lot more to Ruth. Funder does really well to build relatable and real characters.

The story itself is largely set in the pre and present Nazi period but from a different perspective to a lot of stories of those eras. Ruth, Dora and their friends have managed to escape the horrors of the concentration camps and they speak out against the regime outside Germany. It was also interesting to think that more could have been done earlier if not for political conservatism.

My recommendation:
I will definitely be looking up more of Anna Funder's works. She reminds me a little of Kate Morton, with the storyline woven between present times and the past. But this book also has a backbone that makes it a unique and strong book of its own. This makes it into my all-time-favourites.


  1. This is an unexpected gem, isn't it? What an amazing foursome this is -- they certainly are compelling reasons enough to read.

    1. Yes, it is! This was an impulsive buy so I'm glad I picked it up.