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  • Writer's pictureKristina Atkins

RTW: An Optimistic Holocaust Memoir?

That question is actually easy for me this month! During the semester, I don’t have a lot of opportunities for “fun reading.” But I recently started a book club with a friend, which always gives me that one non-school book to read. The book this month was The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein. And let me tell you: It. Is. Amazing.

So, I obviously cried as I read this book. How can you not? It’s a Holocaust memoir. But I didn’t cry until Seren was rescued. The byline says, “A Memoir of Survival.” So accurate. Throughout her horrific experiences, Seren took the opportunity to laugh. She was a true survivor, and I think she endured her hardships because of her optimistic mentality. So many Holocaust memoirs I have read in the past left me feeling like I could have never survived the labor and concentration camps. This book actually inspired me to be a survivor like Seren, to find that inner strength, to look at every hardship with the idea that I will get through this.

Add to that lovely writing. Seren grew up in Transylvania. I never knew anything about that area of Romania (or any area of Romania), or Budapest, where she spent her young adulthood. But the writing captured the Carpathian mountains and beautiful capital of Hungary so well, I felt like I could see them. And the craziest part is, Seren had a ghost writer (Louise Loots Thornton, a distant relation by marriage). Thornton did an astounding job of capturing the beauty, heartache, joy, and incredible sorrow of Seren’s life. The story of how the book came to be written and published alone is enough to earn your attention.

So read it.

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