by J. Kasper Kramer
Ileana loves to collect stories, and she has a very large number to share. The issue is that stories can be dangerous where she lives. Her uncle has experienced this first hand as he’s been missing since the publication of one of his stories. Now, when the family’s safety is put at risk in Bucharest, they send Ileana away to live with her grandparents for a time. Here Ileana discovers that there’s so much she never knew.
The setting is Communist Romania in the late 1980s. It’s such a difficult time with food rationing, unrest and low living standards in general. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about this time period in Romania, nor did my kids. The book is both educational and entertaining— woven with folklore in between what’s happening in real time. We never lost interest and my kids were literally buried in their books. It’s beautifully crafted with wonderful characters and storytelling.
Personally, I enjoyed the story very much and decided on a 4-star rating, whereas the kids were a solid 5-stars —no questions asked. Some of the content was a little more complex, but it didn’t faze them. We looked forward to reading it daily. We read physical hardcovers and also enjoyed the audio along with the book.
The Story That Cannot Be Told is tense at times and also full of emotion, but funny too. It has also inspired me and my children to read more historical fiction. I recommend it for middle-graders, adults with an interest, and anyone who loves a good story.