Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything by Karen Fisher-Alaniz | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything

Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything

4.0 11
by Karen Fisher-Alaniz
     
 

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On his 81st birthday, without explanation, Karen Alaniz's father placed two weathered notebooks on her lap. Inside were more than 400 pages of letters he'd written to his parents during WWII. She began reading them, and the more she read, the more she discovered about the man she never knew and the secret role he played in WWII.

They began to meet for lunch

Overview

On his 81st birthday, without explanation, Karen Alaniz's father placed two weathered notebooks on her lap. Inside were more than 400 pages of letters he'd written to his parents during WWII. She began reading them, and the more she read, the more she discovered about the man she never knew and the secret role he played in WWII.

They began to meet for lunch every week, for her to ask him questions, and him to provide the answers. And with painful memories now at the forefront of his thoughts, her father began to suffer, making their meetings as much about healing as discovery. Thus began an unintended journey—one taken by a father and daughter who thought they knew each other—as they became newly bound in ways that transcended age and time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On his 81st birthday, Murray Fisher, a WWII veteran, gave his daughter Karen 400 letters he’d sent home to his family during the war. Growing up, as freelance writer Fisher-Alaniz tells in this engaging memoir, she had heard her father’s stories about his office job while stationed in Hawaii in the 1940s, but was never interested enough to ask questions. Then, as an adult, she realized that although he’d been a loving parent, what she knew about him filled up a single page—until she received the letters. Her curiosity sparked, she decides to make her way through her father’s vivid letters and suddenly has many questions, including why her father was so determined not to talk about his wartime experiences. While attempting to unearth her father’s past, she finds the opportunity to establish a new relationship. They begin having weekly lunches and visits, and her father opens up, revealing he’d actually been in naval intelligence as a Japanese code breaker, shipping overseas to Iwo Jima. As Fisher-Alaniz and her father continue their conversations , she hears a devastating secret her father has been holding onto for 60 years, and with which she must now deal. (Dec.)
Booklist
Breaking their own code of silence, father and daughter reach across the decades, recording an important chapter in history and forging a long-overdue personal bond.
Bookpleasures.com
This reviewer highly recommends this book for all readers. Those with a family member in the armed services will appreciate the homage this book pays to our military. Those who don't personally know anyone in the military need to know how hard our military members work, not just during their active duty but for their entire lives.
Ekta Garg
At Home With Books
I highly recommend Breaking the Code to those who want to learn more about the day-to-day life of a soldier serving in the Pacific in World War II, specifically in Honolulu. The letters relate in detail the frustration of the daily grind for a soldier left behind at base, and they stand in stark contrast to the descriptions her father gives when he eventually opens up about the trauma he suffered when he got close to the battle during his secret missions.
JAJance.com
a story that left me covered with goosebumps time and again and eventually moved me to tears.
J.A. Jance
The Seattle Times
Fisher-Alaniz, a Walla Walla author, writes the true story of how her relationship with her 81-year-old father changed after he gave her two weathered notebooks containing more than 400 pages of letters he'd written to his parents during World War II, letters that revealed the pivotal role he played in breaking a top-secret Japanese code.
Reading Good Books
a deeply touching journey of a father and daughter. If you know someone who has been through a war — WWII, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. — this will definitely hit close to home.
From the Publisher
"Debut memoirist Fisher-Alaniz offers a sensitive account of how she helped her war-veteran father confront a traumatic memory he had carried with him for more than 50 years. Commendable for how it breaks the silence surrounding PTSD... a genuine tale told from the heart." - Kirkus

""engaging memoir"" - Publishers Weekly

"Breaking their own code of silence, father and daughter reach across the decades, recording an important chapter in history and forging a long-overdue personal bond." - Booklist

"I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about family and relationships, people interested in World War II history, those wanting to know more about PTSD, and readers who enjoy mysteries." - A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye

"This was a very heart warming and heart wrenching book." - Bookpleasures.com

"This reviewer highly recommends this book for all readers. Those with a family member in the armed services will appreciate the homage this book pays to our military. Those who don't personally know anyone in the military need to know how hard our military members work, not just during their active duty but for their entire lives." - Bookpleasures.com

"I highly recommend Breaking the Code to those who want to learn more about the day-to-day life of a soldier serving in the Pacific in World War II, specifically in Honolulu. The letters relate in detail the frustration of the daily grind for a soldier left behind at base, and they stand in stark contrast to the descriptions her father gives when he eventually opens up about the trauma he suffered when he got close to the battle during his secret missions." - At Home With Books

"a story that left me covered with goosebumps time and again and eventually moved me to tears." - JAJance.com

"Fisher-Alaniz, a Walla Walla author, writes the true story of how her relationship with her 81-year-old father changed after he gave her two weathered notebooks containing more than 400 pages of letters he'd written to his parents during World War II, letters that revealed the pivotal role he played in breaking a top-secret Japanese code." - The Seattle Times

"a deeply touching journey of a father and daughter. If you know someone who has been through a war — WWII, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. — this will definitely hit close to home." - Reading Good Books

"This lovely book decodes two mysteries-that of a father's place in WWII as a code 'writer,' and that of a father and daughter relationship that is mired in secrecy. The breaking of the second 'mystery"'is just as fascinating as the breaking of the first. Karen Alaniz does a masterful job of recording this story for herself, her children, her father - and us!" - Judith Schiess Avila, co-author of Code Talker

Kirkus Reviews

Debut memoirist Fisher-Alaniz offers a sensitive account of how she helped her war-veteran father confront a traumatic memory he had carried with him for more than 50 years.

On the day Murray Fisher turned 81, he gave the author two notebooks filled with more than 400 pages of letters he had written to his parents while he was stationed at Pearl Harbor during World War II. Baffled, the author took it upon herself to not only read and transcribe his letters (several of which appear in the book) but to understand the motivations behind her father's unexpected gesture. She knew he had served in the Navy and that he had "spent his days working in an office." She did not know, however, that he had been trained to copy Katakana, the code the Japanese military had used to communicate top-secret information. Her father could never speak of his work to outsiders because "anyone could be a spy." In March 1945, Fisher and a fellow code breaker and friend were sent to Okinawa, where a shrapnel wound killed the friend. Fisher's grief and guilt were so intense that he suffered a temporary breakdown. This story of an adult child learning to understand a parent she thought she knew is simple and unpretentious.While the narrative lacks literary finesse, it is nevertheless commendable for how it breaks thesilence surrounding PTSD. "Whether the veteran returned from war sixty years ago or six days ago," she writes, "one thing remains constant: it's time for us to talk and to listen."

Not the most elegant memoir, but a genuine tale told from the heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402261138
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
397,641
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Karen Alaniz is an author and writer, who began the journey of writing this memoir when her father handed her a collection of letters on his 81st birthday. She lives in Walla Walla, WA.

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