July 14, 2010

Review of "Broken Birds, the Story of My Momila"

"Broken Birds, the Story of My Momila"
Jeannette Katzir


Pub. Date:
April 2, 2009
Pages: 378
Reading Level: Adult

Synopsis: World War II has long since ended,and yet Jacyln and her siblings grow up learning to survive it. Having lived through the Holocaust on the principle of constant distrust, their mother, Channa, dutifully teaches her children to cling to one another while casting a suspicious eye to the outside world. When Channa dies the contents of her will will force her children to fight . . each other.

When I was first asked to read this book I wasn't exactly sure what the book was about. The descriptions about the book were pretty vague and I didn't want to read other reviews. I have always found The Holocaust and other genocides interesting to study (yes I know this is a bit twisted), so I just had to accept this offer. I really enjoyed this book, it was very different from the other books that I have read about The Holocaust; it covered two stories of survival, as well as how their experiences effected the characters and their families.

I found it very interesting how the mother and father fears about the past lead to them instilling different ideals into their children that followed them into adulthood. Some of these fears developed into unhealthy behaviors that tore the family apart. I found it heartbreaking that Channa felt that it was her responsibility to bare as many children as possibly to make up for her family lost in The Holocaust and that her fears manifested into an unhealthy paranoia which put severe stress on the family. I'm not saying that her paranoia wasn't understandable, she went through a lot at a young age and it is bound to affect her for the rest of her life, but it was just sad how she had trouble living her life after she got it back.

I really enjoyed "Broken Bird, the Story of My Momila", but towards the end it seemed to move a little slowly. I think some of the family struggles could have been cut out, I understand why they were added, but I'm not sure if they were all necessary.

I know this book isn't a YA book, but Channa and Nathan are in that age group going through The Holocaust, Jeannette also talks about how different things were for her growing up because of her parent's experiences. If that isn't enough, then reading about someone else's dysfunctional family is always interesting. If you want to learn more about Katzir's book there was a great article in "The Huffington Post" about it.

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