Friday, October 7, 2016

Veronica's Grave

Veronica's Grave
by Barbara Bracht Donsky

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis:  When Barbara Bracht's mother disappears from her life-no one tells her that her mother has died-she is left a confused child whose blue-collar father is intent upon erasing any memory of her mother.  Forced to keep the secret of her mother's existence from her younger brother, Barbara struggles to keep from being crushed under the weight of family secrets as she comes of age and strives to educate herself, despite her father's stance against women's education.

Told with true literacy sensibility, this captivating memoir asks us to consider what it is that parents owe their children, and how far a child need go to make things right for her family.
from the back of the book

Review:  Barbara Donsky tells us the story of her life as she grew up with her family after her mother died.  The memoir is written in such an easy-going way that makes it very fast to read and it made me forget that I was reading the true story of Donsky's life.  At times I thought I was reading an engaging fictional book and I had to stop to remind myself that this story was not made up.  Donsky spends very little time talking about her earliest memories of her mother and the changes that occurred in her early life after her mother "went missing" as she called it in the book.  Most of the story is about Donsky's life growing up in New York City with her father, step-mother (who she called mom) and her two brothers, and then her life after she turns 18 when she manages to escape the clutches of her family. 

While I found the look back at her life and what life was like for a woman in that day and age very captivating, I struggled with understanding the connection to how Donsky felt about her missing mother.  From the title and the summary of the story, I would assume that most of the book is about how Donsky struggled in her life to live without her mother but more of the struggles in the book were those she had with her controlling father.  Donsky does bring up at various times throughout the book about how she felt about living without her mother but those seemed to be more afterthoughts than part of her story.  I very much appreciated the end of the book when Donsky visits her mother's grave and the reflection that she includes about her life and the impact her mother's death had on her feelings and insecurities growing up.  I just wish that these reflections had been a larger part of her story throughout the book rather than just added in the last few pages of the book.

I was sent this book in exchange for an honest, fair review.  Thank you for sending me the book!

Rating: 3.5 stars

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