Growing up in her parents’ crazy hippie household on a tiny island off the coast of Boston, Jules’s imaginative sense of humor is the weapon she wields to dodge household chaos. But somewhere between routine discipline with horsewhips, gun-waving gambling debt collectors, and LSD-laced breakfast cereal adventures, tragedy strikes with the death of her younger brother—a blow from which Jules may never fully recover.
Jules’ story alternates with that of her Grandfather Samuel, a man with a sad story of his own. Samuel, once called Szaja, is an orthodox Jew who lived through the murderous Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s and the Majdanek Death Camp—but whose survival came at a price that’s haunted him for years.
The story is centered during the late 70’s with the accompanying narrative set during the 1920’s. The descriptions of both periods are well done. The transitions of the two time periods are well executed.
I enjoyed this story immensely. The plot is compelling and will move the reader. The intertwining stories of Jules and Szaja are both painful and inspiring. Grief and survival brought to the forefront from two people built of strength and resilience, in the end true survivors. Learning of Jules and her family is distressing. Szaja’s survival of atrocities demonstrates mettle of toughness and courage. Both histories nothing short of brutal.
Jules is a heroine as Szaja is a hero. Sharing sorrow their stories are parallel only separated by time – Jules late 70’s, Szaja covering 1920’s. You will be drawn to these two protagonists. Howard and Wendy – these two evoke anger and frustration. Their personalities and behavior are loathsome. Pitiful and disgusting set of ‘parents.’ Amazing how such poor parents and parenting created three great kids, could have resulted in the complete opposite.
A wonderful story of survival in the face of adversity, great characters, the story will touch you.