Looking for a new book this cover stood out. My first reaction was, “What the?” The image of a baby with a Swastika armband on seemed like a twisted joke for a sadistic novel. Since WWII is one of my fave subjects to read about I just had to purchase this book.
Max’s story sucks you in from page one. He gives his unabashed viewpoint from pre-birth to his delivery into the world. He is a special baby because Max was born as part of the Lebensborn program in Germany. His mother and father were hand-picked, the finest German examples of a man and woman to produce a perfect German child. The blonder the hair and bluer the eyes the better. Max is a control freak from his birth onward. He is gifted and has been gleaming his education through his mother’s tummy. His anxiety at being born is eased when he arrives perfectly on the Führer’s Birthday.
Max is brought up in this program at a special home of sorts for other perfectly bread German babies. The ones that don’t pan out as perfect are whisked away. Max is taken to a special, secret school where he will be trained further to be ready for the Hitler Youth. Max is rarely shown affection except for when his mother and other women at the home breast-fed him. Hugs are foreign to Max.
At the school Max meets Lukas whose older, but appears as though he could pass for his older brother. Lukas is another perfect example of a German male. Max is transfixed by Lukas and his looks. Lukas is rebellious and Max chooses to help him when Lukas is being punished. Due to Max being Christianed by Hitler himself he is untouchable at the school and the staff know this.
This novel is about their friendship and what it was like for Max to grow up in the program. This is a work of fiction, but after a few Google searches a lot of people and events in this book are based off real people and events. This book is not an easy read. Max is a very blunt character who tells it like it is. Even as a baby he doesn’t mince his words. I had no idea about the Lebensborn program before I read this book. I learned new things about the war, things that were tough to read. War is ugly and this book shines the light on further shocking things from a German perspective. If you like reading about WWII this novel might be your next favorite read.