One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping

Barry Denenberg


This book is about Julie Weiss, a jewish girl who lives in Vienna. It takes place in 1938, when Hitler is gaining power. Julie has a rich family and a best friend, Sophy. Her favorite thing to do is read. Though her family is jewish, her brother, Max, is a zionist, who believes that all jews should move to Palestine. Julie's Uncle Daniel praises Hitler and often has arguments with Julie's dad. Eventually, Hitler takes over Austria, and Julie's life takes a turn for the worse. Everyone is suddenly against jews. In the terrible time for jews, Julie's mother commits suicide, Sophy goes to England, and Max leaves to go to Palestine. Julie and her father are alone in a world that didn't seem to want them.

Author's Lesson

The lesson of the story is that you should have a positive attitude about life. In Julie's life, she went through a lot of hardships. She lost many family members, teachers, and friends. However, Julie maintained positive throughout the book. Even when things were bad, she didn't forget about the small things that were good. One example is that she knew that she was lucky to be blonde, because she looked like an Aryan. In the end, things turned out very well for Julie. We should also keep a positive attitude, no matter how hard life gets.


This book stayed pretty true to what was happening in Germany and Austria at the time. In fact, there is a historical note at the end talking about what happened in those countries. For the events in the book to make sense, Germany had to have been in a terrible time after world war one. This is part of the reason the German citizens went along with Hitler. He promised to help do great things for Germany. The book takes place in the time period where Hitler is gaining power. As Julie Weiss says it, “There is no Austria anymore.” This is because when Hitler took over Austria, the Austrian citizens were essentially part of Germany and had almost no power by themselves. As you can see, this book makes use of the historical events happening at that time to make a great fiction story.

Works Cited (picture sources)

Denenberg, Barry. One Eye Laughing, The Other Weeping book cover. Digital image. Amazon. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

Map of Germany and Austria. Digital image. Maps of World. Compare Infobase Ltd., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

Pictures of Adolf Hitler. Digital image. The Famous People. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2014.

Shooner. Soup Lines. Digital image. Hubpages. N.p., 12 July 2009. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.