Customer Reviews for

Bending Toward the Sun

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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  • Posted September 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    3 stars

    I had a hard time getting into this book at first. The book is divided into three parts, the mother's story, the daughter's story (the author), and then the collaboration to writing this memoir. The first part is in italics and I found that distracting for awhile. But I put the book away for a few days and then started back up again. Much better this time.
    The first part details Ruchel's (Rita) family during WWII, hiding in the attic of a friend for two years to avoid discovery by the Nazis. Rita's mother and baby brother do not survive as well as some other family members. After the Russians chase out the Germans, they return to there home but then must leave due to hostility still prevalent towards the Jews. They make their way through eastern Europe and finally to Italy. Rita's father remarries to a woman that does not want two step-daughters and Rita grows up feeling unloved as her family then moves to Brooklyn and finally Chicago. Rita marries and moves to Los Angeles and has a daughter Leslie. And this starts the second part. Between Rita's depression and her striving to be a great mother, she is incredibly overprotective of Leslie and her other children. Leslie was unusually fearful during her childhood and that leads to the third part.
    Leslie sees her own daughter, Mikaela, growing up to be as fearful as she was. This leads Leslie to look into the transmission of trauma from parents to children so that she can better understand what Mikaela is going through and help her. This is done by looking into her mother's past and discovering how the events effected Rita, Leslie and Mikaela.
    This was an interesting take on a Holocaust memoir, mostly focusing on on not the events themselves, but the results. I really liked the idea, but the writing seemed inexperienced and was not able to hold my attention for long periods of time. But it was an important story to be told.

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