Customer Reviews


168 Reviews
5 star:
 (133)
4 star:
 (28)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


175 of 183 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Must Remember
Seren Tuvel began her life as a carefree child growing up in a beautiful, peaceful part of Romania. Secure in her intelligence and in the love of her eight siblings and parents, the anti-Semitism that raged in Romania seemed nothing more than an annoyance to Seren and her family. After receiving a full scholarship to attend a prestigious gymnasium (high school) in...
Published on March 2, 2003 by Allyn

versus
33 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can I please just not like this book?
I've been trying to give this book 2 stars for the last year, but that doesn't seem to work, so I'm dropping it to 1 star. There are better books to read about WWII and/or Ravensbruck experiences. I wrote this before, but got slammed because I think I used the wrong words. Nonetheless, for those of you who feel the need to defend the book, I am not attacking it, I am...
Published on January 15, 2012 by Sandy


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

175 of 183 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Must Remember, March 2, 2003
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
Seren Tuvel began her life as a carefree child growing up in a beautiful, peaceful part of Romania. Secure in her intelligence and in the love of her eight siblings and parents, the anti-Semitism that raged in Romania seemed nothing more than an annoyance to Seren and her family. After receiving a full scholarship to attend a prestigious gymnasium (high school) in Bucharest, Seren travels to her country's capital to city to quench her thirst for learning. This dream of gaining knowledge is abruptly ended, however, when Seren throws an inkwell in the face of one of her professors after he makes an anti-Jewish remark. She flees the school, begins work as a seamstress, and enjoys city life. Nazis invade Bucharest and the entire Romanian country; Seren feels that she can take care of herself. Yet soon this feeling of security fades and Seren decides that she must go back to her country home to escape the growing Jewish persecution in the city. Disaster meets her there as well when she and her father are rounded up in a horrifying night raid by the Nazis and sent to a federal prison, where they are falsely accused of being government spies. Seren is released from prison, yet as she receives word that her father is losing his mind, and realizes the destruction of Jewish life around her, she knows that her "journey" is far from over. Indeed, the pages of her story take us deep into the horrors of Auschwitz, and show us how somehow, Seren "rebuilt" her tortured life following the war.
In many ways, this Holocaust memoir is not extraordinary in its genre. However, in a few key ways, Seren's memoir is supremely effective and unforgettable. First, as I read "The Seamstress", I was amazed by the utter lack of bitterness in the book. Seren simply TELLS about the beatings, questionings, and other forms of torture she and family endured at the hands of the Nazis, and never tries to "play-up" a single horror in her life. After the war, it is apparent that Seren simply tries to recover, find her family memebers, and gain a job. She is happy with the husband that she has found, and tirelessly keeps up hope about her life. Wow! I was so amazed and inspired by the fact that Seren never once complained about the havoc the Nazis wreaked on her her life (although that would have been completely justified), and for that reason alone, I would never forget this book. Seren's intense loyalty to her sister, Esther, and friends, Ellen and Lily, in Auschwitz was also uplifting. I was awed by the way Seren insisted that she would be responsible for her friends at Auschwitz, and swore that she would never leave them, even to get food or clothing (which were virtually non-existent at Auschwitz). It seems that this memoir strove to show the high ideals and strong character that were developed in Seren during the Holocaust, and this characteristic of the book alone is enough to make this book a must-read and an inspiration for anyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, January 15, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
Like others, I could not put this book down. Seren's story was captivating--she was incredibly strong in the face of horror. The fact that she was not German and explains what happened to the Jews in Eastern Europe gave me a perspective I have not had. And, like other reviewers, I found her lack of bitterness amazing. This was the first Holocaust book I've read which made me understand that people had no idea what happened to members of their families. I knew it before; this time I felt it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique compelling account, July 31, 2005
By 
Anyechka (Rensselaer, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
This is the first book about the Shoah I've read that takes place in Romania (apart from the excerpt from Miriam Korber's diary in the anthology 'Salvaged Pages'). All of the other books and memoirs are from places like Poland, Hungary, Germany, France, Holland, anywhere but Romania, which also suffered mighty losses during the Shoah, though not always in the same way as in those other conquered nations. Seren was the third-last child of a huge family, composed of both full siblings and half-siblings, and despite having a strict father and living in a nation with rampant anti-Semitism, even among small children who were taught to hate, a land where Jews were not granted civil rights and civil liberties until 1923, and then only very reluctantly, she always stood apart from others. She was willing to fight back and to be her own person, to leave home at 13 to attend the gymnasium in Bucharest, to strike out on her own after throwing a bottle of ink at an anti-Semitic priest teacher and never going back to the gymnasium. Seren loved being a dressmaker, even designing gowns for members of Romania's Royal Family, though she didn't tell her family for some time what she was really doing and that she'd left gymnasium.

Unlike many other Shoah memoirs, this begins when Seren is quite young and continues through her childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. (She is also a bit older than the typical writers of such memoirs; she was 26 years old when she was forced into the labor brigade and the camps, not a teenager or even in her early twenties.) There were increasing incidents of anti-Semitism both at home and in surrounding nations, but things are still relatively "normal" a lot longer than in many other memoirs of this nature. Many start out normally but quickly move to the camps and ghettos; this book doesn't move to that territory for some time. Even after Seren sneaks her way over the new border through the mountain at the foot of her family's house shortly after Romania is carved up by Hungary and the Soviet Union, and she and her father are arrested and treated quite terribly, she still eventually manages to finally be released and go back to her family, whom she is ordered to move to another town. Her father is suffering in prison, but the family is largely still intact. It is while Seren is working in Budapest with her youngest sister Esther and two new friends of theirs that the town they left most of their remaining family in gets invaded by the Nazis along with the rest of Hungary, and but for the ones who have already escaped to the relative "safety" of Budapest or who are somewhere else, most of them are murdered. It is only in the Summer of 1944 that Seren, Esther, and their friends Lily and Ellen (the Helinka later referred to in the Epilogue?) are taken to a labor brigade; after several months of that they are transferred to the first of eventually three camps they would be in. They weren't taken to one of the death camps in Poland, but conditions were just as bad where they were; it's a marvel they managed to survive until the liberation in the Spring of 1945. I also liked how much time was spent to writing about what happened after the liberation; too many memoirs of this nature either have no sequels or only spend a few pages on relating what happened immediately after the liberation, wrapping things up without any real sense of resolution. A lot of people make the claim that many books about the Shoah start to seem all the same after awhile, only with different names, places, and specific incidents, but because of all of the rich detail, many different characters, timeframe, locations, the fact that the author was together with a sister and two friends instead of (as one tends to see more often) mainly surviving for another sibling and not friends, how much time goes by before things really start getting horrible, and the age of the author, this book truly provides a unique and gripping perspective.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seamstress You Can't Forget, January 18, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
This was one of the most frightening and interesting books I have ever read. I stayed awake many nights after reading this book and contemplated what life must have been like for Seren. I think people of all ages should read her story and discuss it with family (especially children) and friends. We must all remember Seren's bravery and the tremendous tragedy of the Holocaust to prevent it from happening again in the future. I wish Seren were still alive. She would be on my list of top ten people to meet.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Review of The Seamstress, August 14, 2000
By 
Jan Weiss (Walnut Creek, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
My fathers family from Romanian perished in the Holocaust and I was curious about the history of the Romanian Jews which is why I chose this book. I read it in four days. Seren is the type of person you will never forget. It was her courage and the loyalty she had to her sister Esther and to Ellen and Lily that kept them alive. It is told in a very straight forward manner and Seren never glosses over the facts. I am aamzed that she was able to survive the camps and the trainride near the end of the book and that she continued to use that strength to get her past the war and to her married life and a mother to her children. I highly recommend this book, and not just to those of a Jewish heritage but to anyone because of the inspiration I found in this book. Seren Tuvel is a woman I would have been honored to know.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best halocaust book written, October 31, 2002
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
This is the best book I have read about the halocaust. I could not put this book down. The hardships that the main character endured is more than I could ever imagine. The author told the story so vividly and there was never a dull moment in which the reader was bored or uninterested. I would highly recommend this book to everyone! I rate it as one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique Holocaust Story, May 6, 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
Sara Tuvel's story was unusal for a holocaust story because she was able to manipulate the system and remain free for the majority of the time. She was her own counsel from childhood through adulthood, with the ability to think for herself and the fortitude and discipline to prosper in any type of undertaking. Her story is both heart wrenching and uplifting at the same time. From a woman's point of view, this is a good example of a strong woman, who uses her intelligence, intuition, and fortitude to survive a terrible ordeal.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Brothers, My Sisters, November 3, 2000
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
This book was almost not written. And it was almost not published. And revealing as it is, it tells only some of the tale. Some things are just too close, too hard, too emotional, too overwhelming to share. Yet share she did, and we are richer for it, even if we don't know the whole story.
The story is a familiar one in some ways. Young Sara was a survivor, even before this term became indelibly linked with the Holocaust. Outgoing, ambitious, adventurous, Sara struck out in the world early and learned hard lessons in cruelty and hatred. Yet her spirit remained and helped her survive the unsurvivable. In fact, given her condition at the end of the war it is remarkable she did survive. Perhaps her single-minded dedication to her sister and friends enabled her to forget about her horrible condition. She truly willed herself to survive.
Yet the story, as so many others, may never have come to light. After the ward there was so much else to do, so much time to make up. Only in her later years did Sara think of writing her story. And when it was done she could not get it published so she put it away. Her daughter found the manuscript after Sara's death, and published it 15 years later.
Sara never saw her book in print. You should.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Review for The Seamstress: A Memior of Survival, January 26, 2002
By 
Dana (Lexington, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
When I was assigned to read a book for my Freshman English class, I decided to read about the Holocaust. When I picked out The Seamstress: A Memior of Survival, I could tell it was going to be a book I wouldn't be able to put down. After I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. To learn what Seren went through to survive makes me feel really lucky for where I am today. Myself being 15, knowing if I was in Seren's place I would be away from home , being a seamstress- I know I couldn't handle that. How Seren, Ellen, Lilly, and Ester stayed together through the torture of the SS guards, made them live longer. When things seemed as if they couldn't get any worse, they did. And to survive through something that horrible is amazing. And for her to retell her story, remembering those memories that had to take a lot. I feel more educated reading this book, learning what it was really like, but knowing I'll never really know what it was really like.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting to Read, November 8, 2005
This review is from: The Seamstress (Paperback)
This book was well written in that it is a first hand account of what happened to real people in the Holocaust. It held my attention from beginning to end, and that is saying a lot for a book for me, so I do recommend it as a good read on this subject.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 217 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Seamstress
The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein (Paperback - May 1, 1999)
$16.00 $12.30
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.