That Year of Our War

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In the tradition of Chaim Potok's The Chosen and Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, That Year of Our War is a gentle, warmly nostalgic story by prizewinning author Gloria Goldreich about the final year of World War II and its profound consequences for a young woman and her extended family. For Sharon Grossberg, 1944 was a year of death and a year of birth. It began with D-Day, which for her would always mean "Death-Day," the day Sharon's mother died after a painful battle with leukemia. With Sharon's father ...
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Overview

In the tradition of Chaim Potok's The Chosen and Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, That Year of Our War is a gentle, warmly nostalgic story by prizewinning author Gloria Goldreich about the final year of World War II and its profound consequences for a young woman and her extended family. For Sharon Grossberg, 1944 was a year of death and a year of birth. It began with D-Day, which for her would always mean "Death-Day," the day Sharon's mother died after a painful battle with leukemia. With Sharon's father in Europe serving as an army doctor, she is left in the care of her passionate, strong-willed aunts and uncles. Caught up in the varied currents of their lives, Sharon discovers the secrets of their marriages and is herself initiated into the mysteries of love and betrayal. There is Lottie, the eldest aunt and matriarch to whom they all turn first, and her husband, Julius, a wealthy furrier; Edna, the organizer and manager of the family, one of those women who know at once whom to call and what to do in every circumstance; and beautiful Dina, a social worker, and her husband, Robert, a Socialist artist. Transplanted from her Brookline, Massachusetts, home, Sharon spends the summer in Woodstock, New York, with her aunt Dina and uncle Robert. There Sharon experiences adult love for the first time and learns to accept the inevitable uncertainties one must face in life. It is a year during which birth and death converge, hope triumphs over despair, and the national tragedy of world war and the yearning for peace dominate thought and dream. Written with exquisite grace and subtlety, That Year of Our War is the compelling story of one family's loving and tenacious commitment to one another during those crucial months when love and loss, anxiety and exhilaration, hung in tense balance.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Goldreich's ( Years of Dreams ) deeply moving novel views events of the last year of WW II through the eyes of a 15-year-old American girl, narrator Sharon Grossberg, who is exceptionally perceptive, analytical and vulnerable. The heart of the story lies in Sharon's evolving relationship with her mishpacha (extended family), who, after her mother dies of leukemia, resolve that she live with an aunt in Brooklyn. (Sharon's father, a doctor, is serving somewhere in Europe and the absence of his letters is a constant source of anxiety to her.) The young woman spends the summer of 1944 in Woodstock with another aunt and uncle, and her introduction to their offbeat, intellectual and creative friends adds a new dimension to her expanding world. Goldreich again brings a sense of immediacy to the Jewish experience as Sharon's perceptions of the cycles of life--a birth, a wedding, death--are evoked in rich detail, made poignant without being maudlin. The ordinary life of the family, with their Shabbat dinners and various holiday preparations, is tinged with growing horror as they learn of the extermination of relatives in Europe. Sharon's evaluation of a complex adult world is rendered with skill and power. (May)
Library Journal
For 15-year-old Sharon Grossberg, June 6, 1944, is ``Death Day''--the day she loses her mother to leukemia. Since her father is serving in Europe, Sharon leaves her Boston home to live with relatives in New York City. This novel is a chronicle of the last year of World War II in the lives of this large, extended Jewish family. The story focuses on Sharon as she struggles to cope with her mother's death, her constant anxiety about her father's safety, and her own coming of age. The cycle of life is presented in the birth of a new cousin, the marriage of another, the devastation caused by the death of friends and family members, and the realization of the horror of the Nazi concentration camps. The story is well crafted, and Goldreich ( Years of Dreams , Little, Brown, 1992) successfully evokes the mood, time, and place of the American home front during the world war. Recommended for most fiction collections.-- Maria A. Perez-Stable, Western Michigan Univ. Libs., Kalamazoo
Mary Ellen Quinn
The year referred to in the title begins on D-Day, 1944, when Sharon Grossberg is 15. On that day, her mother dies after a long illness, and since her father, a doctor, is serving with the U.S. Army somewhere in Europe, Sharon is taken in by her large extended family. She spends the summer with her glamorous aunt Dina and Dina's artist husband, Robert, in Woodstock, New York, and then goes home to live with Aunt Lottie and Uncle Julius in Brooklyn. Sharon's fears about her father and her own initiation into some of the secrets of the adult world take place against a backdrop of all the small incidents of daily life, as well as marriage, birth, and death. Meanwhile, the war wages on, never far from anyone's mind, and worst fears are confirmed when news begins to reach them about the fate of Europe's Jews. Aaron writes home about his experiences liberating the concentration camps, and Sharon takes her old grandparents downtown to consult the lists of names compiled by the Red Cross, trying to find out who survived and who was killed. This is a readable book with a smart, observant heroine and a vivid sense of time and place.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316319430
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356

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