The thesis for the book is as follows: You cannot take a child during his formative years of 10 to 15, murder his parents, subject him to SS torture, deprive him of education, make his survival contingent on lying and then expect his ethical, emotional and psychological development to go unimpaired.
The majority of Holocaust survivors did go on to be high-functioning, fine, upstanding citizens. Others, under the burden of their trauma, led emotionally anguished lives with some committing suicide. It is reported that yet others later became enmeshed in complex and painful family dynamics that burdened future generations. The book asks a simple question: Beyond the cynical assumptions that he did it only for money and fame, why else might Herman Rosenblat have chosen to embellish his survivor account?
The Apple simultaneously follows Herman as a ten- year-old boy on his journey through ghettos and Nazi death camps during World War II, and as a 79 year-old man in 2008 through the media ruckus brought on by his publishing misadventures. The book asks readers neither to forgive nor to condemn Herman Rosenblat; it invites them to move beyond facile arguments and easy moral indignation and to go deeper into the complex shading of his character. It raises questions of personal responsibility, of blaming the victim, and it explores how personal psychology shapes the life we create and the stories that we tell ourselves and each other.