What I Loved:
I read a lot of historical fiction, and a significant amount of those books revolves around WWII, so I’m always excited when I find a book that provides a new perspective on the war. The Takeaway Men was a beautiful, emotional journey into the lives of holocaust survivors as they immigrate to America. We experience their joys and sorrows as they try to navigate a new world, and it is a beautiful story.
How I Felt:
The Lubinski family has experienced so many horrors at the hands of the Nazis during World War II and has decided to make a fresh start in America. This new country is so different from anything they have experienced before. It is vast, loud, and new. While the twin girls begin to settle in quickly, Aron is plagued by his past. His Holocaust experiences are a secret from his girls, which creates a rift between the father and his daughters. When their Hebrew school covers the war and the treatment of Jewish people, the girls want to learn about their parents’ past.
The characters were so beautifully written in this story. I felt their sadness and their joy. Meryl Ain did a fabulous job of building these people to be so real on the pages. I liked that the story is told through multiple perspectives. I believe that this writing choice is what made the characters feel so tangible. Reading from their viewpoint brought their emotions and thoughts to life.
This story is about the horrors of World War II, but it also brings to light the effects of the war for people after it was over. That view is something that isn’t often shared in books, and I really enjoyed reading about it. It’s an emotional story filled with the trauma, nightmares, and guilt that came with people as they tried to start their lives over. It’s a beautiful story and one that I don’t think you should miss!
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend The Takeaway Men for readers that enjoy an emotional historical fiction story!
Where to Find This Book:
The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain is available at these sites.
With the cloud of the Holocaust still looming over them, twin sisters Bronka and Johanna Lubinski and their parents arrive in the US from a Displaced Persons Camp. In the years after World War II, they experience the difficulties of adjusting to American culture as well as the burgeoning fear of the Cold War.
Years later, the discovery of a former Nazi hiding in their community brings the Holocaust out of the shadows. As the girls get older, they start to wonder about their parents’ pasts, and they begin to demand answers. But it soon becomes clear that those memories will be more difficult and painful to uncover than they could have anticipated.
Poignant and haunting, The Takeaway Men explores the impact of immigration, identity, prejudice, secrets, and lies on parents and children in mid-twentieth-century America.
Just the Facts:
The Takeaway Men by Meryl Ain
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pub Date: Aug 4, 2020
Meryl Ain’s articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, Newsday and other publications.
The Takeaway Men is her debut novel. In 2014, she co-authored the award-winning book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016, wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal. She is a sought-after speaker and has been interviewed on television, radio, and podcasts. She is a career educator and is proud to be both a teacher and student of history. She has also worked as a school administrator.
The Takeaway Men is the result of her life-long quest to learn more about the Holocaust, a thirst that was first triggered by reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the sixth grade. While teaching high school history, she introduced her students to the study of the Holocaust. At the same time, she also developed an enduring fascination with teaching about and researching the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. An interview with Robert Meeropol, the younger son of the Rosenbergs, is featured in her book, The Living Memories Project. The book also includes an interview with Holocaust survivor, Boris Chartan, the founder of the Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, New York. Meryl holds a BA from Queens College, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University.
She lives in New York with her husband, Stewart. They have three married sons and six grandchildren.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.