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One Eye Laughing, The Other Eye Weeping: The Diary of Julie Weiss, Vienna, Austria to New York 1938 (Dear America Series) Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, October 1, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-A story set in Vienna on the eve of World War II. Eleven-year-old Julie Weiss adores her rich and successful father, but is ambivalent toward her superficial mother. Step by step, the girl, her Jewish family, and their friends suffer from the violent persecution inflicted on them by the Nazis. Her mother commits suicide. Her father, one of the few Jews who foresaw what would happen, is able to send Julie to her mother's sister in America. There, in shock and despair, the child takes time to mend, but the kindness of her aunt, an actress, and her jolly husband help her to start a new life. The pace of the story quickens rapidly as conditions in Austria escalate from a pervasive anti-Semitism to life-threatening Nazism. Denenberg furnishes adequate foreshadowing in the Vienna portion, two mysteries in the United States section, and a satisfying family relationship (relevant to the two mysteries) that adds interest and contributes to an upbeat ending.
Marcia W. Posner, Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County, Glen Cove, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This entry in the Dear America series follows 13-year-old Julie Weiss through the pivotal year 1938, when the Nazis invade Austria. Julie's father is a beloved doctor in Vienna, her mother a social butterfly, her brother a Zionist. Although Julie knows she is Jewish it doesn't mean much to her until the Nazis come, and the Jewish population is terrorized; Julie's mother commits suicide rather than endure the coming horror. Dr. Weiss has had the foresight to give Julie English lessons and gets her to an aunt in New York. Here the story takes on a fairy-tale quality. Julie's aunt is a famous stage actress, and within a few short months Julie is appearing on the stage with her, to much acclaim. The book contains some omissions: no mention of Julie's trip from Vienna to New York, and after a few bad moments, not much questioning of what has become of her family. But author Denenberg does a good job of capturing what it must have been like for Viennese Jews, who felt secure with their lives and friendships only to find everything can change in a minute. Photos of Vienna and New York, as well as other information, are appended. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.; 1st edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439095182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439095181
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Julie Weiss is a 14-year-old girl who is a Jewish rich girl, life may seem good and perfect for her until...Adolf Hitler, an "anti-Jewish" leader comes and brings terror to Vienna. Julie's best friend Sophy, is sent to England being adopted, Julie's mother commits suicide, her brother Max runs away, and her father sends her to America to be adopted by her aunt who was never heard from, all Jewish things were messed up. Julie will just be satified with her life but she worries about her father in Vienna. There is a fictional epligue and historical note and pictures of the era. I recommend this to 9-12-year-olds.
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By A Customer on October 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading this book, I really learned about my heritage. Being Jewish, I understood Julie's point of view. The kids teasing her. The racism of neighbors and friends. But I never really was taught about how the Holocaust started. This book shows the true horror behind life in Austria for Jews. I love my copy and now I am keeping my own diary. I recommend it to anyone with a heart.
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Format: Hardcover
First and foremost, this is a worthy book because of its treatment of its subject matter, which is of course, the beginnings of the Holocaust in Europe. The first part of the book is fairly well done. It doesn't spare the young reader much in recounting the way Jews were treated and how it became progressively worse. It's particularly noteworthy that the book starts out with life basically "normal" for Jews. As is always the case in persecution, it comes in stages. It's extremely important that students see how this can happen to any race, religion or ethnic group in any society or group of people.

***Spoiler Alert***

That being said, the second half of the book was just very strange. First, the main character's father, a doctor, who has been the victim of abuse at the hands of the Nazi's having had just about everything taken away. His wife lost her mind and committed suicide (after apparently being gang raped, which an adult reader could pick up on, but might be confusing for a younger reader.) His son leaves for Palestine and he has the chance to go to America with his daughter. It stands to reason that if he has a brain in his head, he must know that he's doomed, yet he decides to STAY in Austria for the sake of his patients. (What patients? It's implied that they're just about all gone as the Nazi's strip him of his practice - the non-Jewish ones won't see him and the Jewish ones are disappearing.) Wouldn't a father's first responsibility be to his child? That was just strange and if the author wanted to write out the father to have the child travel to the US alone, it should have been done another way because it just did not make sense. Julie (and the reader) wonder through the entire second half of the book what has happened to him.
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Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate enough to obtain an advanced edition of this wonderful book. Barry Denenberg is a wonderful author. He brought a wonderfully human viewpoint to this tragic time in history. Twelve-year-old Julie Weiss is the daughter of a wealthy Jewish couple in 1938 Vienna. She has a comfortable life, until Hitler's army invades Austria. Her family is the target of violence, and her mother sinks into depression, eventually commiting suicide. In spite of the bleakness of the first half the book, there is hope in the second half. Julie's father, desperate for her safety, arranges for her to go to New York City to live with her aunt and uncle, but decides to stay behind and help others. She is full of loneliness and despair at first, but finds comfort in her relatives and in a career in acting. I highly reccomend this to historical fiction fans. The author did an excellant job of bringing the time period to life.
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A Kid's Review on November 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book; don't judge it by the first few pages, though, because it doesn't start off right away. Julie Weiss is living a normal life in Vienna until it is taken over by Hitler. Jews are having their homes and workplaces destroyed, and Julie's own mother (among other people) commits suicide to avoid the Nazis. Julie is sent to America--all by herself--to live in New York with her Aunt Clara. This is a very good, very sad book about the Holocaust.
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Format: Hardcover
This book baffled me. Low reading level, high maturity level...I couldn't figure out what the target audience was supposed to be. The reading level is probably grades 3-5, but the maturity level is much higher. Apart from the bits related to the holocaust, there is an insinuated rape, suicide by the main character's mother, a teenage pregnancy that ends w/teen & baby dead, and an overall very modern attitude from the main character (also the repeated mention that "making whoopee" was one of her new favorite American phrases--what's with that? I guess it could mean just to party, but is that really what anyone thinks?).

These issues weren't described in detail, but why were they mentioned at all? Obviously it is a book about WWII and the holocaust, so things directly relating to that subject are understandable, appropriate, and expected. But this book seemed like there was extra stuff thrown in just for *fun*. For the reading level it was written at, it just doesn't make sense. The only reason I can think of is that the author was trying to target an older/mature child with a lower reading level...trying to engage them in some sort of history. I guess it would work for that. But I honestly don't think that history is represented properly in this book, and thus does a disservice to any audience.

This is the first of the Dear America series I've read, but it definitely didn't make me want to read more. There are so many good, accurate books out there--choose one of them!
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