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Title is misleading
on March 15, 2012
The life of Alice Herz-Sommer is definitely one worth writing and reading about. However, to call this "A Century of Wisdom" is misleading. A more apt title would be "How Music Sustained Me", or "A Century of Musical Triumph". The choppy writing and perpetual jumping of time frame make the story challenging to follow.
Ms. Herz-Sommer grew up privileged with many fascinating people in her life (such as Kafka), was and is a renowned pianist, survived Theresienstadt concentration camp with her son, and has lived through many interesting times in many interesting places. The only life lesson that is imparted here is that music played the key role in Alice's life. Music sustained her through her imprisonment, gave her a means to support herself and her son, provided a refuge for her when her son died unexpectedly and too young, and keeps her mind and body nimble even in her advanced years. If you love music and are passionate about it, this story will speak to you. However, I finished the book feeling let down by the unfulfilled promise of the title and was left wanting to know more about how a woman who had survived so much and seen so much managed to keep moving forward with such a positive outlook. Surely there is more to Ms. Herz-Sommer than music.