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Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal Hardcover – September 1, 2007
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
When is the last time you finished a book and cried, not out of joy or sadness, but because of the astonishing strength of the human spirit? This book is extraordinary on so many different levels I hardly know where to start. --BookReview.com
Top Customer Reviews
Author, Diana Raab shares her grandmother's journal, which follows her difficult and frightening experiences in war torn Poland, events of World War I, witnessing the atrocities committed by soldiers, losing all the possessions, the Nazi invasion, the cramped trains evacuees spent weeks riding only to arrive in cities where the natives did not want them and had no reservations about expressing such in the most hurtful of ways. Even as a child, Regina was not sparred this degrading hostility. Over and over again she is forced to make adult decisions and each time her incredible strength and unusual ability to understand the ways of the world shines through the darkness that surrounded her. The family eventually immigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where things remained tense between her grandparents, but Diana wouldn't realize until years later, while reading the journal the extent of her grandmother's marital unhappiness.
Meticulously and masterfully, Diana has woven her feelings, fears and experiences throughout this extraordinary narrative and the result is this once-in-a-lifetime novel.
Diana found strength and grace in those handwritten, time worn and yellowing pages.Read more ›
This book is a long walk down a dark road with no detours or forks in the road for a breather.
The author actually writes very little in this book. Her words connecting parts of the story were completely unnecessary. There is no writing style. I would have preferred a forward page and have had it presented as a Diary or Journal.
The Author, Diana Raab's, grandmother was her caretaker until she was ten years old. They had the most amazing relationship, making it all the more horrible when you find out at the beginning of this book that Regina took her own life when Diana was just a little girl. Young Diana had been left with so many questions that plagued her own life as she grew into adulthood that she truly couldn't believe her good fortune when her mother passed along her beloved grandmother's journal.
The author was going through her own horrifying illness as she opened the pages and sought solace and warmth - as well as a way to reconnect - with her grandmother. As the story unfolds, we learn of Regina's amazing strength, dealing with a mother who treated her coldly, at best, and a father who made choices after it was already too late.
We are told of the real life events as World War I started spreading through Regina's small hometown of Kalush. We see the anger on the streets and the blood flow as Regina's family, friends and neighbors watched their world disappear. We go through illness, war, pain, and travel into Vienna, as Regina tries to save her own life and the life of her sister. As we continue, the German soldiers begin knocking on the door as the atrocities of World War II come into being.
But, I must say, even though the historical pictures and tales are amazing to read about, the true color, flavor, and heart comes from Regina, herself. This author's grandmother was a true heroine when they were in incredibly short supply.Read more ›
Subtitled: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal
Diana Raab's grandmother Regina took her own life in 1964 when Diana was about 10. Diana lost someone who loved her dearly--and gave her unconditional love.
In the 1990s Diana's mother was cleaning out a closet and found her mother journal, sheaves of paper in a folder. When she came to America, Regina wrote about her life in retrospect, growing up in Poland and Vienna during WWI--about war as seen through the eyes of a child.
The Reinharz family was parents, two older brothers, Regina and younger sister Beronia. Diana was shocked to read what her dear grandmother had gone through as a child of war. Mother had died from cholera, brothers left to start their own lives, and separated from their sick father, Beronia and Regina were left to fend for themselves as adolescents. A powerful and driven young girl, Regina knew if they were going to survive, she would have to make it happen.
Although about war, the story has such power of survival, of second effort at every turn. This young girl was never loved by her own mother, who resented her being born, and treated her horribly at every opportunity. Regina found that often she encountered women who didn't like her, and said "apparently she was not good a making women happy." What scars are left when you are not loved by a parent? How long do those scars stay, and how to they show themselves?
Regina knocked on doors asking for food, a place to live, a job, schooling, etc. She was in charge of herself and her sister--and she was not yet a teenager.
In addition to the journal, Raab intersperses some geography and history to give perspective.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the story and the glimpse into the lives of Regina, her daughter and granddaughter. This book has an intimate look at the experiences of living through war and the... Read morePublished on March 31, 2009 by Kathleen~ Kwilt2@aol.com
The discovery of her grandmother's diary, three decades after her suicide, leads Diana Raole on a journey into her grandmother's past. Read morePublished on December 31, 2008 by Christine M. Irvin
All of us have locked closets where family secrets lay untouched and buried under long forgotten or never known memories of family structure. Read morePublished on April 2, 2008 by Linda Lee Branch
Regina's Closet is the story of two women: Diana Raab and her grandmother, Regina Klein. "I was ten years old the morning I found my grandmother dead," Raab writes of the... Read morePublished on December 14, 2007 by Susan
Regina's Closet is a rare glimpse into the private world of a young Jewish girl who lived through the nightmare of life in Eastern Europe in the years prior to World War II. Read morePublished on November 27, 2007 by Marla Leader
Regina's Closet is a most compelling, educational, and truly awe-inspiring book. Diana Raab tells the story of how finding her beloved grandmother's diary which was replete with... Read morePublished on November 7, 2007 by Stuart Ulrich
To a whole new generation of young adults in America, World War II is very ancient history and something that they do not perceive as having any relevance to their lives and... Read morePublished on October 6, 2007 by Midwest Book Review