Mendel's Daughter: A Memoir

Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
ISBN
1416552219
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Editor review

1 review
Stunning Holocaust Story in Graphic Novel Format
Overall rating
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
0.0
In this unforgettable graphic novel-type story celebrating triumph over unimaginable horrors, Martin Lemelman gives us the story of his mother, Gusta, who survived Nazi persecution in Poland in the 1930s. Gusta's story is told conversationally, as if she were talking directly to the reader, and the book is full of pencil drawings, family photographs, and handwriting.

The seed for this book was planted in 1989 when the author videotaped his mother talking about her life. After she died, Gusta directed her son to share her story by appearing in a dream: "Sometimes your memories are not your own." Her story begins with a description of her family's cozy home and her relationships with her family. Her tale takes a dark turn as Hitler rises and Nazis occupy Poland. The family is torn apart. In order to stay alive, Gusta and some of her brothers and sisters live in a hole dug in the forest. There, they struggle to provide themselves with water and food. They face the problem of how to conceal their footsteps in the snow. They are unable to bathe. Unbelievably, Gusta and her siblings live this way for three years. We also learn what became of Gusta's family when the war ended.

Thanks to the graphic elements, readers will feel as if they are experiencing Gusta's life. This is a haunting page-turner. . .not to be missed. Very highly recommended.
TM
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