The Butcher's Daughter A Memoir
Told with compassion and brutal honesty, a riveting account of what it means to be the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Written in sparse, eloquent prose Grende brings the reader into her Bronx world of the 1950’s and 1960’s, into her home sheltering secrets and thick silences; and then further back into the frozen Polish forests of WWII, on a journey of discovery and renewal. More
Heartfelt and spare, a riveting account of what it means to be the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
Florence Grende knew from childhood on that something evil resided in her household, separate from the rages and tears that gripped her parents—that evil an entity her parents called Der Melchome, The War. It rested in her parents' thick silences as they forged a new life in America, while they ignored the impact of the past. A past that, while sheltered in shadow, nonetheless haunted them all.
In short chapters divided into three sections, Grende leads the reader on a journey of discovery and beyond. She begins (Outside, America Waits) by vividly recounting her 1950’s and 1960’s Bronx life. Events come alive as she describes in graphic, sensual detail her experiences and conflicts while straddling an immigrant Jewish life in a post-War American world. Section two (Der Melchome) shifts to her family’s survival in the frozen Polish forests of WWII. Using her father’s post-War testimonial outlining his partisan activities, as well as research and bits of stories told her, Grende reimagines, with gripping imagery, both of her parents’ survival struggle. Section three (Afterwards) recounts her parents’ post-War attempts to rebuild their lives, first in Poland, then in Germany. It describes the years after her father died and her ongoing troubled relationship with her mother. This section also describes Grende’s week in Wannsee, Germany, where, with other descendents of survivors and perpetrators of the Third Reich, she seeks to confront the past and lay demons to rest.
Written with brutal honesty and compassion The Butcher’s Daughter embraces the beauty, complexity and resilience of the human spirit.
Winner - Bronze Medal Reader's Favorite Book Awards 2017
Honorable Mention/Finalist - Eric Hoffer Book Award 2017
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