Book Description

From Publishers Weekly 'Stay away from that door!' the author's mother used to warn. 'Don't look there, don't go near it; there's a mean, hungry wolf in there, and if you open the door he'll get out and eat you up.' It's Richman first memory, and it comes from the years during WWII when she and her Jewish mother masqueraded as Christians in a small Polish town. But there was no wolf, Richman understands later, what lay hidden behind the door was her father, who had escaped from the Janowska concentration camp and whose discovery would have unmasked the family. Even at three years of age, she writes, 'I understood the importance of keeping the secret of my father's existence.' Richman and her parents immigrate to New York after the war, and the rest of this well-intentioned but uninspired memoir details her childhood and schooling, her relationships with men, her failed marriage, her eventual career as a psychoanalyst and her long marriage to Spyros Orfanos, a noted psychoanalyst himself. Written in clear but pedestrian prose, Richman's account details the myriad ways her early experiences of trauma shaped her later years. The ongoing themes of denial and her growing ability to identity herself as a survivor reading the diary of Anne Frank or seeing Stalag 17 give her glimpses into her experience drive the narrative; it is only after years of analysis that she understands a connection between the 'difficulty in expressing myself verbally and the early injunctions against speaking the truth.' As in analysis, Richman methodically goes through her life and offers theories of who she is and how she became that way. While many Holocaust memoirs focus primarily on the events of the Shoah, this volume examines the lingering effects it had on children. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Read more From Booklist Richman was born in 1941 in Poland, of middle-class Jewish parents. Five months after her birth, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Richman's father was sent to the Janowska labor camp in Lwow, but her mother was able to obtain the birth, baptismal, and marriage certificate of a deceased Catholic parishioner, and the two of them went into hiding in the home of non-Jews. In 1943 her father escaped from the camp and joined his wife and daughter in hiding. 'Terror was in the atmosphere I breathed,' she remembers. In 1951, after spending time in Paris, they came to the U.S., and Richman chronicles her 'struggles and triumphs of adolescence' in New York, her college years, and her work as a psychoanalyst. Her memoir is the story of what happens when a hidden child of the Holocaust grows up, the after-effects of trauma, and the difficulties of a young woman fighting to forge an identity in a world that wants to forget. Most of all, it's the story of one woman's survival. George CohenCopyright ? American Library Association. All rights reserved Read more