Monday, June 3, 2024

Book Review: Klara's Truth by Susan Weissbach Friedman

It is May 2014, and Dr. Klara Lieberman—forty-nine, single, professor of archaeology at a small liberal arts college in Maine, a contained person living a contained life—has just received a letter from her estranged mother, Bessie, that will dramatically change her life. Her father, she learns—the man who has been absent from her life for the last forty-three years, and about whom she has long been desperate for information—is dead. Has been for many years, in fact, which Bessie clearly knew. But now the Polish government is giving financial reparations for land it stole from its Jewish citizens during WWII, and Bessie wants the money. Klara has little interest in the money—but she does want answers about her father. She flies to Warsaw, determined to learn more.

In Poland, Klara begins to piece together her father’s, and her own, story. She also connects with extended family, begins a romantic relationship, and discovers her repairing the hundreds of forgotten, and mostly destroyed, pre-War Jewish cemeteries in Poland. Along the way, she becomes a more integrated, embodied, and interpersonally connected individual—one with the tools to make peace with her past and, for the first time in her life, build purposefully toward a bigger future.


I think most people have some interest in the history of their families, where they originally came from. what our families were like etc... I have done some research on my own family and have found some interesting things, my other family, on my dad's side, I am fully convinced they hatch one day, as I can find NOTHING on them...oh well lol. This, among other things really made Klara's Truth an interesting read for me.

Klara's father disappeared from her life when she was 6 years old, and she spent years wondering what happened to him. As she neared 50, she received two letters in the mail, one from her mother who has known all her life what happened to her father, making their troubled relationship a bit harder. The other was from the Poland government telling her that she has a large amount of property that the Nazi's stole from Jewish citizens during WWII.

I really loved Klara's story, how she discovered not only her family but her heritage. Friedman has written a beautiful debut novel with sensitivity on several touchy subjects. It is an inspiring, emotional and compelling read that any lover of family drama and discovery will really enjoy

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