Book: The Dream
Author: Harry Bernstein
Challenge: Jewish Literature Challenge
My Short Review: Second book in the trilogy of Bernstein’s memoirs. An interesting story with an inspiring touch considering the author’s age when he wrote the book!
My Rating: 4 Stars
I read “The Invisible Wall” earlier this year for the Jewish Literature Challenge. In that book, Harry describes the early part of his life when he was a little boy in England during WWI. It was a very well written book and I enjoyed reading. What inspired me more was the fact that the author – Harry Bernstein was over 90 years old when he actually started writing the book!
When I finished reading the book, I googled the author and came across his Wikipedia page where I learnt that his second book was already published as well and the third book in his trilogy of memoirs is expected in the middle of this year!
I immediately decided to pick up “The Dream” – the second book in the trilogy. In this book, Harry’s family moves to the US (well, everyone except for his oldest sister who got married at the end of the first book and was settled in England). Moving to the US was the biggest wish and dream of Harry’s mother. Their life in England was dominated by poverty and his mother had to struggle to make ends meet. His father who preferred to get drunk rather than socialize with his family was hardly any help because what he gave his wife for her weekly expenses were never sufficient.
For Harry’s mother, moving to the US was to be the solution for all her problems. Her relatives painted pretty pictures of their fancy lives in the US and she yearned to join them in the land of opportunity and extravagance. And then one fine day in England, her hopes and prayers are answered and they receive steamship tickets to go to America.
I guess for Harry’s mother, this was a perfect case where anticipation was way better than what you actually get in the end. The reality in Chicago was definitely not what she had expected: The cramped housing, the poverty, the stench. Her life was to be no better than the one she had in England!
The book deals with the difficulties they had to go through to get settled in the US and how their lives took many turns – some for the better and some for the worse. Towards the end of the book, Harry meets his soul-mate so there’s a touch of romance for those interested in that as well!
I must say that I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed “The Invisible Wall”. I am always a little wary of sequels because they are usually not as good as the first book but this book was definitely as good as the first one. It was a quick and easy read and as usual there were many pictures from Harry’s life to add that touch of reality to the book. I love having a face to associate the characters with!
Have you read any/both of Bernstein’s Books? What did you think about this one?