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Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review of Annie’s Ghosts

Last October I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Genealogy Gems by Lisa Louise Cooke, and heard a fantastic interview with Steve Luxenberg on his novel Annie’s Ghosts.  Her two part interview (episodes 120 and 121) had me glued to the iPod and sparked more than a passing interest to find out what happened in the end.  Lucky for me I was given an iTunes gift card for an early Christmas present and I downloaded a copy first thing to read during our travels.

You can read a wonderful description of the book, by the author himself, on his website.  The press section of the website has some wonderful links to other articles that have been written about the book’s release and people featured in it.  There is a section there as well called behind the book filled with pictures and documents the author used in writing the book.  Personally, I wouldn’t read it until after you read the book; I feel it would be more meaningful then. 
So…my opinion of the book?  I loved it.  It was part history lesson, part detective novel all with an eye to find out who this mysterious Annie was.  In particular I enjoyed how he wound the background information into his narrative giving the reader the information they needed to understand where he would be taking them next in the story.  It was enlightening to read about the care of patients in mental hospitals and just how easy it was to have someone "locked away" less than a hundred years ago.  Reading the sections about escape during the holocaust were gut-wrenching; however it added poignant scenes that needed to be told for full understanding of the situations in the story.

He also gives me hope that I could one day write about all those secrets and mysteries I have yet to fully uncover in my family. 

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