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After Long Silence Best of all worlds 1 A fascinating account of a dramatic time in our history2 Written in an intriguing but clear and logical back and forth through history manner3 Written with a love of the language bright stylish with each figure of speech perfectly matching the action and emotion of the momentThree favorite passagespg 209 210 Enemies were always available in all my games of war They were lurking in the bushes surrounding the house creeping under the barbed wire across the stand of fir trees at the corner of the woods Enemies could always be conjured up to fulfill the reuirements of life to offer the opportunity for bravery heroism and superiority Without enemies I was nothingpg 274 He kept looking for the old Batya the Batya he'd dreamed of for the past six year; he kept hoping to come upon her in an unprotected moment picking buttercups by the river or daydreaming in the sun But this Maria didn't care for flowers and didn't daydream She worked saved money and scouted the coast for an opportunity a ledge on which to climb She did not look back but moved forward with a joyless energetic will It frightened him to see how much she had become like him how much they had in common He tried to gather all their lost potential wrap it uickly in a bundle and present it to her like a bouuet of wildflowers But she was already two steps ahead of him plucking the petals and making jam stripping the stalks and building a futurepg 316 Perhaps the war had not changed them so much as selected their strengths reinforced them and made them rigid My father white haired and clear eyed with deep lines carved into his face had learned to live by trusting no one He would never let his guard down sacrificing his connection to others for safety And my mother had survived by dancing from one foot to the other spinning and twirling her way out of dangerWhat did I learn Perhaps that faith faith in something true real powerful and glorious is important than survival Survival gained by denying faith forgetting family sacrificing friendship is perhaps painful than deathI've also learned by trying the same tactics as the author that I cannot become closer to my parents by attempting to reproduce their hardships and sacrifices in my own life It may seem a touching tribute but in the end it's an insulting trivialization A good memoir but take it with a grain of salt The subjects in the book her parents were less than willing subjects and and suffered such mental trauma that memories are sketchy at best The real problem with this book is its style This book is full of similes and metaphors that make little sense and throws off the rhythm of the story telling the chronology is all over the place and sometimes there are tangents that don't fit the story What's great about this book is the story itself if true then it is a fantastic story of love loss secrets and family If it isn't true then it was a pretty good novel To this day I don't even know what my mother's real name isHelen Fremont was raised as a Roman Catholic It wasn't until she was an adult practicing law in Boston that she discovered her parents were Jewish Holocaust survivors living invented lives Not even their names were their own In this powerful memoir Helen Fremont delves into the secrets that held her family in a bond of silence for than four decades recounting with heartbreaking clarity a remarkable tale of survival as vivid as fiction but with the resonance of truthDriven to uncover their roots Fremont and her sister pieced together an astonishing story of Siberian Gulags and Italian royalty of concentration camps and buried lives After Long Silence is about the devastating price of hiding the truth; about families; about the steps we take foolish or wise to protect ourselves and our loved ones No one who reads this book can be unmoved or fail to understand the seductive damaging power of secretsWhat Fremont and her sister discover is an astonishing story one of Siberian gulags and Italian royalty of concentration camps and buried lives AFTER LONG SILENCE is about the devastating price of hiding the truth; about families; about the steps we take foolish or wise to protect ourselves and our loved ones No one who reads this book can be unmoved or fail to understand the seductive damaging power of secrets Helen and Lara Fremont were raised as Roman Catholics really Their mom and dad lived in Poland during WW11 and came to America shortly after the war Simple story COMPLICATED During their childhood days the sisters started to have uestions about who they were who are our parents Things were not making sense when confronting the parents about their past Helen was determend to figure it ALL out one way or anotherThis story a memoir has twists and turns that are mind boggling It is powerful and painful all in the same breath Everytime you feel the story should end it starts all over again with new information of their past This book is a true story AND Helen does a masterful job in writting such a complicated history of their family As an adult Helen Fremont learns that her family are not Roman Catholics but actually Jews Her parents survived the holocaust and raised their children outside their faith to ensure that they were never persecuted She mentions being taught the Lords Prayer in several languages so she would always be able to prove her Christianity This was a compulsively readable book I found I could not put it down I even stood at the stove cooking with it in my hand Her parent's past saddened me and I was troubled by how much pain they went through telling their tales To me it really brought to life the terror of the holocaust There are so many good discussions to be had about this book An excellent read of the long lasting impact of WWII I would definitely recommend this one Daughters research their Jewish history after learning that parents hid their identity to escape the holocaust and Soviets Juxtaposes the daughters' lives with the horrors of their parents' lives Though the book doesn't fully explore the issue the author raises an interesting uestion about right to know parents history and to bring back to them memories they want to forget Helen and her sister Lara had always known there were things their parents wouldn't discuss about their past Their parents barely escaped WWII Europe with their lives their mother from Poland and their father from grueling years in a Siberian gulag Years later raised as Polish Catholics in the US Helen and Lara start to ask uestions about their parents' experiences in Europe during the war The parents' cheerful but persistent subject changing makes the girls wonder what is being concealed and they start to search and ask uestions of other people who knew their parents during the war Soon they begin to realize that their parents actually were Jews disguised as Catholics in order to save their lives Yet unlike other similar stories the Buchmans clung to their frail religious facade as though Hitler were still alive and could yet order their extermination The process of the girls' digging and poking and uestioning ripping off the curtains that had concealed 50 year old horrors is painful for the Buchman parents who had buried the memories and never wanted to think of them again Some of the things that they had had to do to survive were truly horrifying and others deeply humiliating Why would the girls want to torture their elderly parents by discovering and discussing much less publishing what their parents obviously did not want revealed The answer probably partially lies in the second parallel story of the book Helen's eventual pulling back of the curtains and revealing her own homosexuality Perhaps she felt that by exposing her own private life she had the right to expose the private lives of her parents Whatever the reason the reader is left with conflicting feelings One is glad that the girls know their Jewish heritage but their relentless pursuit of private embarassing details just seems cruel Some of the book could not be documented and could indeed be fiction although presented as fact Obviously Helen wanted to come out of the closet but her elderly parents did NOT want to be outed from their concealed transgressions Not only did Helen discover her parents' humiliating secrets but by publishing this book she broadcast them to the world As another reviewer said She and her sister were raised to be successful literate individuals by mere mortals who had been to hell and back What can anyone ask Indeed Why ask or expect This may be the first memoir I've ever made it through because I'm NOT a fan of nonfiction If life were so interesting why would we need to make stuff up I read this book bc Helen Fremont is a friend of a friend and was a guest writer giving a reading at the community college where I taught at the time This book is a beautifully told story paralelling Fremont's discovery that her family was covering up their Jewish identity after the Holocaust which prompts her to come out of the closet to them the dynamics of honesty secrecy family etc are very powerful Fremont sacrificed a lot to tell this story Think about it if your family were hiding a secret for decades and you wrote a memoir about that would take guts wouldn't it Fremont is an excellent writer and a terrific person When she's not teaching at the Harvard summer writers' institute she's a public defender not a glamourous life Maybe it's not what everyone expects in their Goodreads reviews but I think a writer being a good human being is worth a bonus star At times while reading this story I wondered at any of the actual verity of facts It's not that I refused to believe this woman lawyer Or that I mistrust that she did not believe and desire to tell the entire truth It is just that I think the people who told it to her all had such emotional mental disability of after effect cognition that each and every detail needs to be taken with a grain of salt as to any context accuracy Even within the era and placements of these events that Helen Fremont remembers as real and actual Like her summer camp experience with not having to go to Mass on Sunday etc All of that just wouldn't have played as Catholic then As it is posited that her Mother and herself too understood any of the context to that dictate or camp's rules So I don't even understand how they could have self identified at all in the way her Mother did and taught her to react Not for any cover or purposes as her mother euated with success for it working It's not only illogical but it's revealing to any who would have heard those kinds of explanations at that time That would have raised uestions toward going forward with any approval for permissions You just couldn't get permission for missing Church every week like that or in that manner of determining that parental dictate yourself re Mass It HAD to be uestioned and addressed to the why part far than this report describes as final answer And it would have Do I know itIt's a story worth telling and one to absolutely tell But I don't think it was told well And yet told as well as it could be by those who couldn't bear to truly remember So much of this copy is told either out of seuence or at tangents to any core of the tale Filler almost Very poor 2 star in construction itself It sounds like the trauma involved was ever lasting and too dire to circumvent Possibly even unto the next generation for all the blank spots and silences And furtive family minutia that did not make sense to other than permanent identity damage is dominate here Actually when it was all said and done I would have MUCH rather read her Dad's autobiography including the years in Siberia that he completed before he passed which ended in 1958 He seemed to be able to witness in a higher degree and with personal eyes But if you want to read about outcomes from Polish WWII era atrocities and village occurrence aftermath for the few Jewish survivors in another century this IS a book to choose The problem is that you will only get it 2nd or 3rd hand while the original eyes are too punctured to relate it