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Dancing In The Dark

Dancing In The Dark

4.9 11
by Rosalie Ferrer Kramer

"You were not mentioned in mother's will," Marilyn tells her sister in a hard voice, and Rochelle wonders what she's missed all these years, believing she had a good relationship with her mother. She thinks, Ah, mother's secrets; It seems I haven't heard the end of them yet. Rochelle learns her mother's actions regarding the will are based on her dislike for her


"You were not mentioned in mother's will," Marilyn tells her sister in a hard voice, and Rochelle wonders what she's missed all these years, believing she had a good relationship with her mother. She thinks, Ah, mother's secrets; It seems I haven't heard the end of them yet. Rochelle learns her mother's actions regarding the will are based on her dislike for her husband and anger because they placed their fatally ill sons in a nursing home where they died, three days apart.

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Publish America
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)

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Dancing In The Dark 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an author, I admire Kramer's skill to make me feel what she must have felt with her ability to create such intensity of emotion, How she was able to write about moving beyond her pain must certainly be of help to any one who reads her marvelous memoir. Write on Ms. Kramer. Write on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rosalie Kramer has a way with words. Her story held me spellbound. Some of the events she told in her book probably can be recognized by many daughters. I could not put the book down. I think everyone will have the same reaction. My words to Ms Kramer - "write on."
Guest More than 1 year ago
October 17, 2002 Reviewer: Grace H. Lebow, LCSW-C from Bethesda, MD USA I loved Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told me. I am a licensed clinical social worker and am co-director of Aging Network Services, Bethesda, Maryland. This book really grabbed me - it moved along so smoothly. The author's mother and sister came across as two very troubled people who don't grapple well with life and cause those around them even more trouble, as so well described. The book gives an excellent description of family dynamics - only one who has personal experience with such a difficult sibling and parent could possibly write in such a compelling manner. I have been spreading the word about the book to my clients who believe that no one is as difficult as their parent. For some understanding of the roots of such difficult behaviors look up the book I wrote with my partner Barbara Kane: Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent: A Guide For Stressed Out Children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dancing in the Dark David Strom, San Diego Jewish Times San Diego, CA (4/24/2002) Every family needs someone to be their family's historian. Rosalie Ferrer Kramer is her family's historian. Her memoir, Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me, chronicles the lives of her immediate and extended family over several generations. She has done it interestingly and tastefully. Ada Leader, the author's mother, was in her nineties when she died. She had been living in the suburban Detroit area where her youngest daughter, Marilyn, helped her remain independent and in her own apartment. Rochelle, the older daughter and the one telling the story, was retired and now lives in Coronado with her husband. Ada Leader was a keeper of secrets from her children, especially Rochelle. Rochelle's Uncle Roy taught her how to dance. Rochelle loved dancing with him. He made her feel grown up. For many years, she thought Roy was her brother! He was considerably younger then her mother; he lived in the same home with Rochelle and her sister; she naturally, thought he was an older brother. After all, her parents never said anything different to them, However, one day she learned the shocking truth from her mother - Roy was her uncle. Why did Ada hide this fact from her daughters? Was it such a 'big deal' to keep it a secret? What did her mother think would happen if they knew he was their uncle? It would not have changed things. But Ada loved to keep secrets from her children. And once Rochelle learned this secret, and in such a cavalier fashion, she became very curious about so many other things. She became an astute listener. She eavesdropped on adult conversations. Rochelle, always inquisitive and a questioner, became even more so after her shock about Roy. Because she got little family information from her mother, she questioned her father. He honestly answered her questions and was always easier to deal with. Her aunts and uncles were also fair game for questioning. What other secrets might mother be keeping from her? Rochelle and her younger sister would stay with relatives during the summer. While both of them loved being on vacation in New York or New Jersey, Rochelle particularly enjoyed speaking and listening to one aunt, her mother's sister, and an uncle, her mother's brother. From them she learned some family secrets. Ada had another brother, Issy, one she never mentioned to her children. Why had she never spoken about him? Was he in prison? Dead? Did he marry a non-Jew? What could he have done that was so horrible that he would not be mentioned in any of her mother's conversations? Another secret concerned her mother. What could that be? Should the children know 'the secret?' What if they found out from others, as they did; was that the wisest way? Did her mother have an abortion because she was pregnant before marriage? Had she been previously married? What was there to hide? Once Rochelle knew her mother kept deep secrets, she was always curious to know more about the family. Rochelle tells us what happened to the whole family over her lifetime. We learn of Rochelle's and her husband's strength and fortitude as she raises two very ill sons. She lets us enjoy the exciting exploits her grandmother and grandfather had prior to reaching the ship that would take them to America. We learn the origin of the family name Thomas. All of this could have been lost, if Rochelle had not been keen on studying history, family history. What made Ada Leader into the person she became? Obviously, this is always a difficult question to answer, especially for a daughter. You can only know your mother as an adult. That is generally too late to understand what made her into the person you know. If your mother was not a demonstrative person, why? If she played favorites, why? Rochelle learned about one of her mother's best-kept secrets. She learned this after her mother died, during the mourning period. It w
Guest More than 1 year ago
A life of downpours Norman Manson, The San Diego Heritage Press, Jewish Times (4/9/2002) It's an old cliche that into each life some rain must fall, that you win some and lose some, but Rosalie Kramer seems to have endured more than her share of downpours, to have tasted more of bitterness than of sweetness in the life she chronicles in this poignant memoir. By starting her story with probably the most shocking fact of her lifetime - that she was not only denied any inheritance but was totally ignored in her mother's will - she makes all the other slights and indignities she endured easier to comprehend. Yet her most traumatic experience, losing two sons to muscular dystrophy within a few days (one was 22, the other 19), certainly could not be blamed on her mother. In a brief foreword, the author, now living in San Diego in her retirement years, calls her memoir 'a work of creative nonfiction' and admits to changing names and identifying characteristics, as well as imagining details 'in many cases.' Thus, while the basic outline of her life story is undoubtedly correct, some incidents must be taken with at least a grain of salt. Rochelle - as she renames herself in the book - seems to have been the odd woman out, with her mother and sister consistently aligned against her. And her mother, apparently a headstrong, opinionated woman, kept all manner of family secrets from her; she often learned of them from other relatives. And when her mother did reveal such things to her, it was in an offhand way, minimizing their importance, as when she learned that Roy, her 'older brother,' whom she adored, was really her uncle. In some ways, her life was typical of a Jewish woman of her generation. Corning of age during World War 11, she married young, to a veteran in the late 1940s, had three children, and the family prospered as Marv, her husband, made it big in real estate after a few years of struggle. But beyond these facts, her life appears to be anything but typical. Actually, she delves deep into the past, to the days of Czarist Russia and her grandparents' hair-raising escape by way of Sweden. And she writes in considerable detail about the lives of a multitude of aunts, uncles and cousins, some of whom she knew and loved, others with whom her relationship was more distant¿ Overall, her story is an engrossing one, that holds the reader's interest throughout, and it is one more fascinating memoir of a genre that is now quite popular.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A deeply personal, 'creative non-fiction' work B. Cox, The Midwest Book Review Oregon, WI USA (4/18/2002) Dancing In The Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me by Rosalie Ferrer Kramer is a deeply personal, 'creative non-fiction' work of hidden secrets and lost siblings. When the narrator is not mentioned in her mother's will, despite having an ostentatiously good relationship, she searches for answers and learns about devastating heartbreak, betrayal, and death within her own family. An emotional, powerful and captivating tale from first page to last, Dancing In The Dark is very highly recommended reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This review was sent to me, Rosalie Kramer,the author, via Email by a reader. She could not figure out how to put it on your site, so I am sending it to you because I think her opinion, as a retired professional is important. These are her words: I read Rosalie Kramer's 'Dancing in the Dark/ Things My Mother Never Told Me,' which, as a retired social worker, I think would be helpful and interesting to your readers. This book certainly does not leave the reader in the dark. The author reveals enough intimate facts about her family and its different relationships among its members, enabling the reader to grasp a full understanding of the family dynamics. I'm sure that everyone can easily identify with several incidents and attitudes within their own families. Ms. Kramer's story encompasses mental illness, abuse, murder and fatal illness. Yet most every reader will find something in common with her realities and better understand that their relatives aren't the only ones acting the way they do. In addition to the readers' identifying with many roles within the author's family, much can be said about the smooth style of writing that makes you want to read on. There were many flashbacks which helped to understand her family members. Also, Ms. Kramer's insertions of her original poetry reflected her intense feelings about her sons and others in the family. This book holds the readers' interest throughout. I found that I could not put it down, and I was compelled to read the entire book in one sitting. I would highly recommend 'Dancing in the Dark' to everyone and anyone who is looking for an excellent and realistic story about a family. It encompasses humor, suspense, happiness and sadness along with Ms. Kramer's explanation of how she coped with many adversities. I found this story very helpful to me, and I feel that it is a must read for everyone because it is about relationships and how destructive secrets can be to a family. Eileen Dolin, A.C.S.W. Psychiatric Social Worker
Guest More than 1 year ago
As as author myself, I appreciate how well Kramer put her story together. Each chapter was a story itself and I could hardly wait to read on. I hope her next book is as stimulating as this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a writer I am envious how well Kramer writes about she feels when she discovers how both her sister and mother erase her from their lives. Reading how 'Greed was the evil monster thaat beckoned to Marilyn (sister) with its long, ghostly hand' says it all in such a few words. I can hardly wait to read her next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reviewer: Larry Chiger from Maplewood, NJ USA I have to admit that when an old friend suggested Rosalie Kramer's book to me, I had my doubts. After all, this is the first book of someone with relatively few publication credentials. Well, I was in for quite a surprise. From the very first page I was pulled into a wonderful and rich tapestry. Not only does Dancing in the Dark capture many nuances of the Jewish immigrant experience of the 20th century, but, more importantly, it tells a poignant family saga. Dancing in the Dark is a slightly altered memoir of the author's life, related to us as she sets out to understand her past. In doing so, Kramer peels back the layers of her family's history. In particular, the narrative reveals her deeply flawed mother and the emotional poisons she promulgates, nurtures and dispenses within her family. Ada Leader, the author's mother, is an inveterate narcissist. She seemingly takes little joy from life and her world is structured by the imperatives of negativism and manipulation. The long term and tragic effects of these on her own daughters are deeply wounding, and yield a fractured family in which the author's sister ultimately becomes a tragic reiteration of her mother's worse qualities. The characters whose stories Kramer vividly brings to life are all people we know or have met. Among them is her handsome and suave Uncle Roy, the mystery man of her mother's generation. There are numerous cousins, aunts, uncle, grandparents and family friends, each of whose stories adds greatly to the total picture. These are real people that we care about. Most importantly, we meet the authors own family, her husband, her daughter and her two terminally ill sons, Mike and David. As we learn of the illness that ultimately claims the two boys, a second story is revealed to the reader. Just as one can't help but wonder at the author's survival of an intensely abusive relationship with her own mother, one is also deeply struck by the love and commitment she brings to her own children. For me it was a tale of triumph, the triumph of a mother's love, and it is the most compelling section of the book. Rosalie Kramer, the author, obviously suffered greatly at the hands of her secretive and often malevolent mother. With the help of her family and her loving husband she managed to survive. Her struggle, both to overcome this emotional trauma, and then to come to grips with it by unearthing 'the terrible family secrets,' makes for engrossing reading. It is as if you are immersed in a detective story, wrapped in a family epic, and told against the backdrop of what Tom Brokaw describes as the greatest generation. Dancing in the Dark is a lovely and touching book that will surely pluck the heartstrings of every reader. Ms. Kramer, who does not shy away from her family's truths, has a writing style that is searingly honest yet comfortably familiar. When you finish the book you feel like sitting down and writing her a letter of thanks, which is just what I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rosalie Kramer is a gifted storyteller. In her inspiring book, Dancing in the Dark, she advances the plot through short chapters, each a vignette of family members and the events that shaped their lives. Readers will see themselves or someone they know as she tugs at your heart's core. I laughed, I cried and was intrigued throughout by the tale she wove. Once started it was impossible to put down.