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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Selma Jovanovic is in the eighth grade when war breaks out in Bosnia in 1992. Her mother is a Bosnian Muslim while her father is Bosnian Catholic and Selma has enjoyed a delightful young life until the Yugoslavian army attacks the Muslims and Catholics of Bosnia who oppose war and have no way of getting weapons. Selma's life begins to take a terrible turn downward when she is attacked and fondled by one of five Yugoslavian soldiers sitting behind her at a concert. Slightly older Johnny Mazur steps in to save Selma, and they are attracted to each other despite the encroachment of Milosevic, the proposed attempts to divide Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia, and the mass murders of hundreds of Bosnian Muslims. Selma's parents lose their jobs, the army confiscates their car, and instead of being sent to safety, Selma ends up in the Omarska Camp where she and other women are raped repeatedly while men prisoners are tortured and killed. Selma finds herself pregnant but cannot give up son Kennan even though his father was one of her rapists. Is there a future for a girl like Selma who has been through so very much?
"Remember Me" is a thought-provoking novel about a dark time in recent history when "ethnic cleansing" of Bosnian Muslims was carried out by psychotic mass murderer Milosevic. The characters of Selma, her parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends who lost a lovely way of life are well-created and believable. The reader will agonize over the way innocent people were killed, their homes destroyed, their surviving families get grief-stricken but somehow carry on. That Selma survives and goes on to regain her life is a tribute in novel form to a people who survived against all odds. "Sjeti Me Se", Johnny's last words to Selma, is a novel that should be widely read and remembered. Unforgettable!