Book Review: The Berlin Boxing Club

Book describes life of German Jewish boxer


Kyle Gehman

The Berlin Boxing Club is 418 pages total. The author, Robert Sharenow, is also a huge TV producer for A&E.

by Kyle Gehman, Staff Writer

The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow is a Sydney Taylor award winning novel. It describes the life of a German Jew living in the buildup to World War II. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The novel follows the point of view of the main character Karl Stern and his life as a teenager classified as a Jew growing up in Nazi Germany. He has a life changing moment that turns him into a boxing protege under the champion boxer Max Schmeling. Readers get a look at the life of a Jewish kid during the roughest time for Jews in history.

The book gives a great perspective on the life of boys that I could connect with even though it was almost 100 years ago. It also gives a very interesting point of view about how it felt for a regular kid who isn’t Jewish but because of his ancestors is classified so and treated like other Jews. It is very easy to connect with for almost anyone who reads it and has experienced the struggle of wanting to do well in sports, has had a crush and has felt judged even though Karl struggles with it more than anyone else at our school.

Sharenow has a very good flow to the book and doesn’t let his main character get out of cliche situations. Karl realizes his idol isn’t perfect and he has to make extremely tough decisions on how to get out of situations that aren’t always perfect. He also creates tough and almost controversial subject about the struggles for someone who wants to do the right thing in this time period but also doesn’t want to be subject to all of the insanity thrust upon him. Karl openly admits he hates Jews for creating this situation and expresses a desire to be part of the Hitler Youth.

The only reason the book isn’t 5 out of 5 stars is that it is more of an easy read which can be nice at times but less appealing to others. The 418 page book The Berlin Boxing Club is worth reading for anybody who has any interest in learning more about the life of people during this time period or about the struggles and successes of a athlete.