When Eve’s Tattoo by Emily Prager was published in the early 1990s, I was in college and it quickly became one of my favorite books.
On her fortieth birthday, Eve gets a tattoo reproducing a prisoner number from a Nazi concentration camp. Her family and friends are horrified, but to explain the tattoo, which she calls a living memorial, she tells each person a different story of the woman assigned the number 500123, a version of the story that will resonate with them.
As much as I adored the book, I haven’t reread it since for fear it won’t hold up to my memories. Additionally, I worry about cultural appropriation which was not something I considered at the time.
I’m not sure if I ever will read it because I want to preserve my memories. However, even looking back, I find the themes relating to storytelling and memory compelling. And the dedication—For the women who resist, and the women who don’t—remains one of my favorites.
Unfortunately, the book is out of print, so it’s only possible to get used copies.