Holocaust Tips is delightfully naïve, yet at the same time cuttingly insightful. Written from the perspective of a young Jewish schoolboy on his school’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, it reminds us that whilst die Vernichtung is still a passionately argued and drawn out topic, its significance is lost on the newest generation of Israel’s children.
In the innocence of a boy recounting his grandfather’s tales of concentration camps, and in the same breath declaring his adoration for Bruce Lee’s skills there is an ironic commentary on life in a time when people are being forced to choose ‘Forgive, forget and move on’, or ‘Never let them forget what they did’.
Smite the Heathens Charlie Brown is an attempt at presenting the issue of religious rivalry in a format that can be spoon-fed to all. By adopting the folk institution that is Peanuts, Auslander has given himself a medium by which his ironic bitterness is keenly contrasted with the traditional good, clean values associated with Snoopy and the gang. When Linus and Lucy start beating on people with baseball bats, you know something serious is going down.
Whilst I’m as sick of hearing about the Holocaust as the next informed and intelligent individual with any recent contact with the media, I am surprised at how striking this book is. Auslander does a good job of putting a sarcastic new spin on the same tired dispute, which I personally found to be refreshing, making this book a good investment of three dollars and half an hour.
SHALOM AUSLANDER, published by Picador Shots