Monday, November 1, 2010

Broken Birds by Jeanette Katzir

Broken Birds: The Story of My Momila by Jeannette Katzir
ISBN: 978-0-615-274483-6
Pages: 374
Back of Book Description:

Channa will evade Nazi soldiers and survive WWII by the age of twelve. The consequences will be that her 5 children will fight for their own survival with---each other.

World War II has long since ended, and yet Jaclyn and her four brothers and sisters grow up learning to survive it. Having lived through the Holocaust on the principle of constant distrust, their mother, Channa, dutifully teaches her children to cling to one another while casting a suspicious eye to the outside world. When Channa dies, the unexpected contents of her will force her adult children to face years of suppressed indignation. For Jacyln and her siblings, the greatest war will not be against strangers, but against one another. Broken Birds: The Story of My Momila is Jeannette Katzir's achingly honest memoir of the enduring effects of war. From her parents' harrowing experiences during the Holocaust to her own personal battles, Katzir exposes the maladies of heart and mind that those broken by war, inevitably and unintentionally pass down to the generations that follow.

My Rating: A

My Review:

This is an amazing story.

When I first started reading it I realized that the idea of the book itself was pretty new to me. I'd never really thought about the effects of the the Holocaust or the war itself on the descendants of the victims.

Learning about Channa and Nathan was extremely interesting. The separate fights they both went through showed very much how it shaped their futures, and subsequently their children's futures.

I was surprised and aghast at the way that the original families treated each other, and while the author seems to show that the war, and the German Army's treatment of the Jews caused much of the problems, I felt that some of the blame laid of the families of Channa and Nathan. I was constantly asking myself how families who had been through so much didn't come together in the time of crisis and the time afterwards. Instead it seemed that the siblings of Channa and Nathan either didn't care or used it to their advantage.

I could completely understand where Channa's paranoia came from, even while watching the way that it shaped her children's thought processes in a negative way.

Towards the end of the book, I felt that the author could have spent more time bringing the reader back to the War, and the past, and how it had shaped this future that the family was facing, but all it took was some memory on my own part as a reader to see how it had done so. It would been nice for a little added help from Ms. Katzir, but didn't really hurt the book not to have it.

All in all I think this is a great book for people who are going through family issues of their own, or people who are interested in the long lasting effects of WWII. Really, this book is good for just about everyone.


  1. I enjoy finding new books to read that I normally would not pick up. This is one for the ever growing TBR pile. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Thank you for the lovely review.

  3. Great review, Sharyla. I've read several accounts of people who made it through the Holocaust, then went on to have very unhappy lives. It makes sense that your view of human nature would be forever altered. Traumatized people tend to view the world as an unsafe place. This affects how they react to everything. This book sounds interesting. I put it on my tbr list.


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