Focus on the Family

The Hiding Place

A book review for parents

This historical book based on Corrie Ten Boom's life by Corrie Ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherill is written for people who are 13 and up and is published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

Corrie Ten Boom, her sister, Bessie, and their father run a watch repair business outside of Amsterdam. When Corrie is in her 50's, Hitler's German army seizes Holland and begins persecuting Jews. Although Corrie and her family are devout Christians, their compassion for their neighbors leads to their involvement in a stealthy underground effort to hide and protect Jews. The Ten Booms are eventually captured and imprisoned for their "crimes" against the Germans. Corrie and Bessie endure horrific conditions in several concentration camps, all the while sharing their faith with anyone who will listen.

Christian Beliefs

The Ten Booms are committed Christians who engage in daily Bible reading and who reach out to their neighbors in Christian love even before the German invasion. They struggle repeatedly over the question of whether lying to help save a Jew's life is contrary to God's will. Corrie and Bessie pray fervently throughout their prison experiences. They smuggle a Bible into the camp and share God's word with the other inmates. Bessie constantly praises God for her circumstances and pities her cruel German captors because they're so far from God. Many Bible passages appear in the text.

Authority Roles

Corrie's father demonstrates a deep, abiding compassion for the people in their community. Her parent is selfless even in the most desperate conditions. In many of his conversations with his daughter, Corrie's father exemplifies God's wisdom and love for His children. Though a few Germans are sympathetic to Corrie's cause, most show contempt and cruelty to their prisoners. They mock the captives, force them to parade around naked and subject them to unthinkable physical labor while housing them in rickety, flea-infested bunkhouses. God, in many circumstances throughout the book, shows His power and authority to be far greater than that of the German army.

Other Belief Systems

Jews frequently engage in friendly religious debates with Corrie's father. Though specific tenants of Hitler's agenda are not mentioned in detail, Nazi beliefs play a foundational role in the story.

Profanity/Graphic Violence

None. Brief descriptions about life in the concentration camp are disturbing, though. For example, while looking for her ailing sister in the hospital, Corrie discovers naked corpses thrown carelessly on the ground. Corrie and Bessie hear the tortured cries of their fellow prisoners, watch the elderly and infirm being sent to the extermination area and hear frequent gunshots as prisoners are executed.





Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

Note: Corrie's father and others smoke pipes and cigars.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.