During the panel I moderated at BEA I mentioned that I enjoy non-fiction. Immediately after the panel author Helen Mitsios introduced herself, thrilled to finally find a non-fiction fan (she hadn't had much success connecting with the right bloggers at that point). When she told me about the book she'd written with her mother, I knew I wanted to read it.
In the first part of the book Helen's mom, Rasia, explains how she used her wits and some luck to survive the Holocaust. In the second part of the book Helen describes her own life and how her Rasia's experiences affected her daughter. Helen didn't find out she was Jewish until she was almost a teenager. Combined with other issues in her family, this fact had a huge impact on how Helen viewed herself, which she shares in her portion of the book.
Other than one minor thing which I'll discuss next, I really enjoyed this book. Rasia's experiences and the way she survived are simply amazing and would make for fascinating reading on their own. The fact that her experience affected her daughter's life should be obvious, but I have never read anything about the children of survivors and how they deal with their own (and their parents') issues. Helen's part of the book was well-written and (for the most part) interesting.
And here we come to the one thing I didn't like about the book. A huge part of Helen's story is how she came to grips with her own issues. That's great, because I was very interested in it. However I felt that she spent too much time focusing on which psychologist said what in his latest book and which researcher has a new theory. This section dragged for me and I feel it could have been cut down considerably.
Other than that one issue though, I really enjoyed this book. I'm so glad Helen came up and introduced herself!