Title: Let Me Go
Author: Helga Schneider
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Barbara Rosenblat
First line: I’m seeing you again after twenty-seven years, Mother, and wondering whether in all that time you have understood how much damage you did to your children.
I put Let Me Go on my list of audiobooks to listen to after reading Sandy‘s review. This memoir is the story of Helga Schneider’s last meeting with her mother. After an estrangement of over twenty years, Helga has come to Vienna to visit her mother in a nursing home, hoping to find some answers for her childhood and her mother’s choices. Her mother abandoned her family when Helga was a child in order to devote her entire self to the Nazi Party. As a member of the SS, she worked as a guard at two of the worst concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Ravensbruck. Helga struggles between a daughter’s desire to have a relationship with her mother and the extreme revulsion she feels for what her mother did for the SS and the hatred for the Jews that she still holds firmly.
Listening to this audiobook was an eerie, chilling experience. I thought about giving it a full review, but Sandy already did such a wonderful job, that I simply point you to hers.
Author: Sam Savage
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy borrowed from a friend
First line: I had always imagined that my life story, if and when I wrote it, would have a great first line: something lyric like Nabokov’s “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins”; or if I could not do lyric, then something sweeping like Tolstoy’s “All happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Firmin is a rat who began life in a shredded copy of Finnegan’s Wake, and lives most of his life in a bookstore. His isn’t a very happy life, being a rat, but he has the ability to read and longs to be human. This is a book for book-lovers and also anyone who is sad at the loss of historic neighborhoods, as Firmin’s home was in Scollay Square, a vibrant section of Boston that became impoverished and was eventually doomed to destruction for the sake of development.
Title: French Milk
Author: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Graphic memoir
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: During January of 2007, my mother and I lived in a small rental apartment in Paris in order to celebrate my mother’s turning fifty (and my turning twenty-two).
I loved the art in this memoir of Ms. Knisley’s trip to Paris with her mother, but I didn’t love the story as much as some other bloggers have. It’s probably my age and the fact that I’ve never been privileged to travel to Europe, but I kept wanting to tell Lucy to snap out of her self-focus and anxiety and enjoy the fact that she was in Paris! She is definitely a talented cartoonist, though, and I look forward to her next book.