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|Print List Price:||$26.95|
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My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia Kindle Edition
|Length: 312 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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My Sister's Mother falls into the memoir genre; however, it turns out to be much more...it is a family saga that starts in one part of the world, moving into another one where, tragically, the family creates an environment so close to what they had once owned, that readers immediately realize how much they missed their homeland, where they would have returned if possible.
Mira was the first daughter of Janina Slarzynska during her first marriage. Donna was born through another marriage and at that time her step-sister and mother were so close that Donna recognized the difference.
Obviously there was much research and, as possible, interviews. Janina had always told stories of the past, so much so that Donna sometimes didn't pay attention...until she was older and realized that she had begun listening and wanting to know more...Earlier discussions, from Donna and others, at first, were too naive and her lack of knowledge agitated her mother... Then, by the time she was interviewing her mother, her mental faculties were oftentimes lost and/or too traumatic for her to respond. Nevertheless she was able to accumulate what she learned and mold it in a family memoir like no other.
Poland had had a very brief period as a free country... How much more devastating it must have seemed to to have had freedom, only to lose it again! How tragic it would be to have other countries come in and claim their property and everything they had worked for... Yes it has happened to others, but each story is unique... Picturing Janina trying to chop wood in the cold forest of Siberia, just putting in time until she could return and make sure her daughter was still alright, cannot easily be forgotten.
We find the youngest daughter having and enjoying that freedom in America, while the past is still haunting her mother and even her sister who, when, parties were held to match her with a husband, had refused to marry any of them... If you love solving mysteries, I think you might be able to imagine why Donna became determined to find out more about her sister's mother and, in turn, find out more about herself... I think she has succeeded in her desire!
A side note was interesting as the author mentions she was among the first who began to use creative nonfiction before it was formally accepted and now in the book, it allows an emotional connection of the family to be established as the saga moves forward.
Historical war novel fans should definitely check this out. Obviously, those from Poland, especially who came to America, will want to take this opportunity to initiate memories from their past. Whether similar or not, this is a memorable story documenting a family's trials and losses as they faced those invaders who came to conquer, not caring about any of those who were affected, in so many different and varied ways. The emotional impact of this story will leave you in deep thought which will not easily leave you. Be prepared.
Donna Urbikas's memoir of her mother and sister's experiences in Siberia may be the best of these books.
She has a gift for conveying not only what happened to her mother and sister, but also how they felt about the things that were happening to them. As I read this book, at times, I felt I was sitting at a table with Ms. Urbikas's mother listening to her stories of what happened when the Russians came and what it was like in Siberia and how difficult it was getting out of the trap the Soviets created and what it was like when the family finally came to America.
Ms. Urbikas not only was able to make me feel all of this, she also was able to make me experience through her eyes what it was like being the child of a mother who experienced the terror and the outrage that Donna Urbikas's mother experienced.
As I read this book, I felt almost like I was a part of Ms. Urbikas's family.
As a child myself of parents who suffered not only under the Germans and the Soviets, I have to say that this is the one book every person who wants to know what it was like to be a victim of the Germans or the Russians in World War II must read.
Echoes of Tattered Tongues