Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lorri M. Review: We Survived

we survived We Survived: Fourteen Stories of the Hidden and the Hunted in Nazi Germany, by Eric H.B oehm is a compelling and frank read depicting the deplorable acts thrust upon the Jewish people during World War II.

All of the fourteen stories are overwhelming, and are a critical and insightful look into survival and what one will do in order to thwart all attempts to be imprisoned in concentration camps or killed at the hands of the Nazis. The book depicts the darkness of the days and the living conditions the Jews faced in order to survive. It portrays the lives of those who opposed the Nazis and how they faced their own dilemmas and demise within a country environment of horrific and atrocious proportions. The ugliness and images within the pages conveys the magnitude and reality of the events that occurred, written soon after liberation, when memory was fresh.

The stories evoke an extremely horrific look at the events the individuals found themselves up against. Yet, they are also a humane and poignant perspective of humanity. We Survived is a book that offers hope and inspiration during the most darkest of times.

In my opinion, We Survived: Fourteen Stories of the Hidden and the Hunted in Nazi Germany, by Eric H. Boehm is a book of historical importance that documents the evil forced upon, the persecution of, and the fear of those whose stories are told. I highly recommend We Survived to everyone.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Holocaust/Genocide, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction, World War II

Sunday Scenes: January 26, 2014

I took a late morning walk, yesterday, at the lake. It was a lovely day, nature was abuzz with all of its noise resounding from the birds of varied species, the frogs, the grasshoppers and crickets, the family gatherings, and children playing, and the moles. The quietude also surrounded me at various points along the way.

egret waiting

Speaking of moles and quietude, the photograph above shows a Great White Egret, standing motionless, waiting for its prey (a mole) to appear from the hole in the grass in front of it.

prey

It did appear within a few minutes, and the Egret caught its lunch. The photograph is a bit blurred (I did sharpen it a bit), as the Egret decided to move back a bit, probably fearful I would try to take its catch.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

I am sorry for the update, I positioned one of my photographs wrong.

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Lorri M. Review: Not Me

notme Not Me, by Michael Lavigne, is a compelling novel on so many levels. For me it was a metaphor for self identity, sin and change, and the superficial roles that one plays in order to move on with their life and flee from the consequences of their actions.

Not Me is a study in the father-son relationship, and is a unique Holocaust story. Within the pages, their relationship is redefined. The father and son relationship is explored with intensity.

Heshel Rosenheim, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is Michael’s father. While Michael is caring for his father, he is handed some old journals/diaries written by his father that will alter the course of his (Michael’s) life, life and family history as he knew it.

Heshel has been living as a Holocaust survivor since the end of World War II. His journals tell otherwise. And, this, is the root of the reality, upon which Michael has been handed. The foundation of his life has been shattered.

Heshel, a man whose cowardly acts could not be suppressed by running from the truth of his actions, is seeking consolation of some sort from his son. He wants Michael to learn the facts, after all of these years of hiding them from him. The quandary resulting from Michael’s reading the journals is cemented.

Heshel learned that fleeing only negates the truth, which followed him everywhere he went. Within the context of the self identity are the themes of love, loss, forgiveness and redemption. The blur between forgiveness and redemption is obvious in the way Lavigne writes.

Michael is rent between his new found knowledge and his love for his father. He is a man who is floundering. He is divided between the truth and the superficiality of his childhood. He is torn between who he truly is and what he is. Does the truth negate who we actually are, have become through living, or thought we were? This is a question the reader is exposed to.

It is a book that is fascinating, compelling, insightful, poignant and comical, and one that I highly recommend.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Novels

Lorri M. Review: A Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel

a guide for the perplexed a novel I enjoyed Ms. Horn’s previous books, and that is why I was interested in reading this one, A Guide for the Perplexed.

The book fluctuates within time periods, offering the reader a scope of then and now, the philosophical and remembrance. Judaism is the significant force within the pages. Maimonides and his philosophies play a huge role within the stories that encapsulate the novel. In fact, much of the novel revolved around his concepts.

I was not thrilled with some of the characters, they didn’t move me, and I didn’t care about them. There were some positive aspects regarding them, I will admit, such as the inferences regarding their intellectual activities. I also enjoyed aspects pertaining to the storage of ancient documents in Genizah (a storage room), inside a synagogue. I did like some portions of the comparison of document or data storage, then and now. Yet, the story line reflecting the digital age and all it seemingly encompasses, seemed a bit redundant to me. There wasn’t anything enlightening or updating, as far as data, data storage, etc.

The story lines (there are more than one) left me feeling a bit empty. To me, Ms. Horn took on a large challenge, and couldn’t quite fulfill it. I felt she tried to combine too much in one book.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing, itself, was well done with vivid glimpses of past and present. The philosophical aspects did speak to me. I liked the philosophical comparisons, especially regarding memory and destiny. Those issues were not enough to stir my interests until the end of the book.

I realize Ms. Horn was trying to depict issues regarding family relationships, free will, nostalgia, an analogy to the story of Joseph, and memory and history, within the pages. To that end, she did succeed in having me ponder the differences between history and memory, actuality and reflection.

Memory is how we remember occurrences, which is not always how the happened. History, as written through the ages, is what actually occurred at a given time.

The word imagery was excellent, and I could see the visuals before me. It wasn’t enough, though, to involve me in enjoying the characters and their endeavors and lives.

Will I read a future book by Dara Horn? Most definitely.

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Lorri M. Review: The Essays of George Eliot (Complete)

theessaysofgeorgeelito The Essays of George Eliot (Complete) is an amazing book that gives the reader insight into the mind and the brilliance of George Eliot’s writing. The essays within the pages touch on a multitude of subjects that Eliot was known to evoke controversy over due to her frankness and starkness of thought.

Eliot was critical of trivial plots by women writers who wrote romantic novels to appeal to the female masses. Within her own novels, where romance is involved, Eliot made sure there was a link between romance and self-centeredness and manipulation, and/or romance and the ever evolving woman, along with other standards and issues.

Her essays bring a sense of realism to the reader, opening up to them Eliot’s thought processes and her thinking on issues of women and marriage, women and sense of self, women and fulfillment within marriage, women and independence and feminist ideals, women and manipulation, women and self-idealization, etc. They also depict her aversion to religious practices, especially the Christian dogma and doctrine. The reader of her essays (during the time period) could see her defined as an agnostic, and a woman who has broken her ties to Christianity.

Religion and her views on it played an important role in her essays. Her depiction of religious authoritarians is not very sugar-coated, but rather forthright and critical. From her perspective, she finds them self righteous in their advocacy of Christianity, yet unequivocally liberal in their own personal lives. Yet, they preached condemnation. She abhorred all that Christianity stood for, and it is quite evident in her essays. This did not necessarily bode well with her readers or those who chose to be critical of her writing and the given subjects.

I liked reading the varied aspects of the social stratum, the political environments and the religious aspects within the pages of George Eliot’s essays. They are vital in order to understand the mores and mindsets of the time period. History has been illuminated through her writings.

I enjoyed reading her thoughts on humor versus wit, and how her writings on both exhibit her own theories of situational events and mental growth. She seemed to enjoy comparing men to women in the intelligence aspect. She was a woman of humor, herself, and often depicted it in her novels, although at times quite subtly.

She definitely was opinionated, and did not falter in expressing her views on any subject, no matter the consequences of public condemnation or praise. Her gift with language and vocabulary is sharp and masterful. Her essays sparked debate within the educated class of the 19th century, whether through condemnation or applause.

Her writings reflect her multitude of thoughts and layers of opinions on everything from A to Z that are pertinent to society and social standards. They are intensely written, and filled with seriousness, yet at times a bit of folly is thrown in. George Eliot was a brilliant writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Essays of George Eliot (Complete).

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Filed under Book Reviews, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction

Sunday Scenes – January 12, 2014

afterflow

The Lake Isle Of Innisfree

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

-William Butler Yeats

Jewish American Poetry and Poet Links:

The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry

Jewish American Poetry: Poems, Commentary, and Reflections

American Jewish Women Poets (Series)

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