Night by Elie Wiesel
Night is the terrible true life memoir of the author's internment in the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, when he was a teenager. There has been controversy in some quarters on whether to class the book truly as a memoir or a work of fiction.
For me, the book falls somewhere in between. Fiction it is not. These events happened, not just to the narrator of the book, who is always assumed to be Wiesel himself, but to millions of Jews during the course of the holocaust. Its "trueness" lay not in its chronological ordering of events, it's recording of history, but in the fact that it is a universal representation of the experiences of the victims of the holocaust and of a time when a large portion of the world seemed to lose its humanity.
Night is written in what can only be described as beautiful yet horrifying prose. It's not gory or needlessly graphic, but it doesn't shy away from the hard truths either, and when you read it, you can almost smell the stench of death. Still, it's a book I would recommend that everyone read at least once. When we read it in middle school, I remember there being some controversy; some parents thought it a little too "heavy" for eighth graders. I happen to think there isn't a better time to read it; young people are the keepers of the future and if we want them to keep the future free of events like the holocaust, we have to help them know the terrible cost that has been paid.
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never. -Chapter 3, pg. 32
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me. -Chapter 9, pg. 109