Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie


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A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror.

Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis in a cramped, dark attic with fourteen members of her family. Young Rita watched her younger brother and her mother die before her eyes. But the tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story.

Decades later, Rita's daughter Leslie began probing the traumatic events of her mother's childhood to discover how Rita's pain has affected not only Leslie's life and outlook but that of her own daughter, Mikaela, as well. The result is Bending Toward the Sun, a collaboration between mother and daughter that brings together the stories of three generations of a family to understand the legacy that unites, inspires, and haunts them all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061776724
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/07/2010
Pages: 357
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

A writer, lawyer, and former executive at NBC, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie is a member and former president of the Los Angeles County Board of Education and a teacher of Holocaust studies. A founding board member and past president of the nonprofit Alliance for Children's Rights, she has worked at a major Los Angeles law firm, served as a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals law clerk, and is a member of the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations, including the Los Angeles Music Center. Recently Leslie was appointed by the mayor of Los Angeles to a panel to devise a new cultural plan for the city. She is a recipient of the American Jewish Congress's Tzedek Award for Outstanding Commitment to Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, and Justice, and the Alliance for Children's Rights Child Advocate of the Year Award. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, two children, and stepson.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part I In Mom's Voice (1937-1960)

1 Childhood, Interrupted 11

2 Stashik Is Coming 27

3 Safe for the Moment 34

4 Where Is God? 45

5 Far from Normal 52

6 Good-bye Urzejowice 61

7 Una Situazione Molto Grave 72

8 A Taste of Freedom 80

9 The Greenhorns 92

10 But We Just Got Used to It Here 101

11 Utterly Demoralized 114

12 I Might Even Marry Him 128

13 A Wonderful Mother 143

Part II My Own Voice (1960-1997)

14 On My Watch 157

15 Bread Crumbs 163

16 Magical Distractions 170

17 I Do Understand 175

18 Sunday Inquisitions 179

19 Time to Say "I Love You" 186

20 A Word Game 193

21 Society of Overachieving Offspring of Holocaust Survivors 199

22 Team Leah 207

23 "Just Jump" 216

24 It's Not That Kind of Thing 225

25 Inside NBC 231

26 The Most Beautiful Woman in the Attic 237

27 Water Your Garden 259

28 The Present I Needed to Appreciate 269

Part III A Joint Venture (1997-2008)

29 Maybe I Should Write It 283

30 Feelings of a Deprived Child 301

31 I Tried My Best 307

32 Ma of the Grand 315

33 A Deluxe Buffet 321

34 Mikaela: Different from Other Kids My Age 328

35 Rita: Lessons to Be Learned 333

36 The Abyss 337

37 Legacy 347

Acknowledgments 353

What People are Saying About This

Irving Greenberg

“Gripping, exhausting, exciting, devastating—this book is at times hard to read but always impossible to put down. ”

Arianna Huffington

“BENDING TOWARD THE SUN is a captivating memoir that explores a complicated, loving, and enduring mother-daughter bond, and reveals how doubts, hopes, and dreams are handed down from generation to generation. As both a mother and a daughter, I found it deeply touching.”

David Wolpe

“Here is a memoir that takes us through many worlds, through heartache and noble hopes, through the mysteries of family love and toward a beautiful, light filled conclusion. Read BENDING TOWARD THE SUN and enrich your life.”

Dick Wolf

“BENDING TOWARD THE SUN is . . . bolstered by writing that is compelling and sensitive, the book transcends the holocaust genre with its multi-generational point of view on the ultimate effect of fear and evil on young minds.”

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