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A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror. Weaving together the voices of three generations of women, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie, provide powerful — and inspiring — evidence of the resilience of the human spirit, relevant to every culture in every corn A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror. Weaving together the voices of three generations of women, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie, provide powerful — and inspiring — evidence of the resilience of the human spirit, relevant to every culture in every corner of the world. By turns unimaginably devastating and incredibly uplifting, this firsthand account of survival and psychological healing offers a strong, poignant message of hope in our own uncertain times. Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. From the summer of 1942 to mid-1944, she and fourteen members of her family shared a nearly silent existence in a cramped, dark attic, subsisting on scraps of raw food. Young Rita watched helplessly as first her younger brother then her mother died before her eyes. Motherless and stateless, Rita and her surviving family spent the next five years wandering throughout Europe, waiting for a country to accept them. The tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story. Decades later, Rita, now a mother herself, is the matriarch of a close-knit family in California. Yet in addition to love, Rita unknowingly passes to her children feelings of fear, apprehension, and guilt. Her daughter Leslie, an accomplished lawyer, media executive, and philanthropist, began probing the traumatic events of her mother's childhood to discover how Rita's pain has affected not only Leslie's life and outlook but also her own daughter, Mikaela's. A decade-long collaboration between mother and daughter, Bending Toward the Sun reveals how deeply the Holocaust remains in the hearts and minds of survivors, influencing even the lives of their descendants. It also sheds light on the generational reach of any trauma, beyond the initial victim. Drawing on interviews with the other survivors and with the Polish family who hid five-year-old Rita, this book brings together the stories of three generations of women — mother, daughter, and granddaughter — to understand the legacy that unites, inspires, and haunts them all.


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A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror. Weaving together the voices of three generations of women, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie, provide powerful — and inspiring — evidence of the resilience of the human spirit, relevant to every culture in every corn A miraculous lesson in courage and recovery, Bending Toward the Sun tells the story of a unique family bond forged in the wake of brutal terror. Weaving together the voices of three generations of women, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie, provide powerful — and inspiring — evidence of the resilience of the human spirit, relevant to every culture in every corner of the world. By turns unimaginably devastating and incredibly uplifting, this firsthand account of survival and psychological healing offers a strong, poignant message of hope in our own uncertain times. Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. From the summer of 1942 to mid-1944, she and fourteen members of her family shared a nearly silent existence in a cramped, dark attic, subsisting on scraps of raw food. Young Rita watched helplessly as first her younger brother then her mother died before her eyes. Motherless and stateless, Rita and her surviving family spent the next five years wandering throughout Europe, waiting for a country to accept them. The tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story. Decades later, Rita, now a mother herself, is the matriarch of a close-knit family in California. Yet in addition to love, Rita unknowingly passes to her children feelings of fear, apprehension, and guilt. Her daughter Leslie, an accomplished lawyer, media executive, and philanthropist, began probing the traumatic events of her mother's childhood to discover how Rita's pain has affected not only Leslie's life and outlook but also her own daughter, Mikaela's. A decade-long collaboration between mother and daughter, Bending Toward the Sun reveals how deeply the Holocaust remains in the hearts and minds of survivors, influencing even the lives of their descendants. It also sheds light on the generational reach of any trauma, beyond the initial victim. Drawing on interviews with the other survivors and with the Polish family who hid five-year-old Rita, this book brings together the stories of three generations of women — mother, daughter, and granddaughter — to understand the legacy that unites, inspires, and haunts them all.

30 review for Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    JG (Introverted Reader)

    Rita Lurie is a Holocaust survivor. Her story is remarkably similar to Anne Frank's. She hid in an attic in Poland for two years at the very end of WWII. Her family's hiding place was nowhere near as carefully-planned as the Frank family's though. They fled Nazi soldiers in the night and eventually found a family friend who let them stay with him. Imagine 15 people, including children and a baby, hiding in an attic for two years with no food supply mapped out. The children couldn't run around a Rita Lurie is a Holocaust survivor. Her story is remarkably similar to Anne Frank's. She hid in an attic in Poland for two years at the very end of WWII. Her family's hiding place was nowhere near as carefully-planned as the Frank family's though. They fled Nazi soldiers in the night and eventually found a family friend who let them stay with him. Imagine 15 people, including children and a baby, hiding in an attic for two years with no food supply mapped out. The children couldn't run around a make noise and be children. They had no heat source. They didn't even have much light. They lived on what the men could forage at night. Needless to say, they were very sick and malnourished when they finally emerged. Rita was five when they went into hiding, but the experience left a deep and lasting mark on her psyche. Now, where this memoir is different from others that I've read is that it doesn't stop with Liberation. That's only the beginning, in fact. How does such a horrific experience mark your life forever after? Also, how does it mark your children and their children? It's not like you come out of hiding and return to a perfectly normal life. I have to say that the first time I ever thought about these questions was when I read The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman. Spiegelman shows that his father was hard to live with, and sometimes it was because of his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. He's a hoarder and a control freak. Spiegelman's mom, also a survivor, was clinically depressed. That opened my eyes a little bit. So when I was offered this book for review, I jumped on it. I was surprised by the ways that the Holocaust affected this family's life. Rita was a little fearful to let her children out of her sight. Her children picked up on that, as children do, and became overly fearful as well. It's even carrying on to the next generation. There are also the cycles of depression. I had to admire Rita, because she is a fighter, but it seemed almost inevitable that the depression would come around for her again. She tries so hard, but how do you overcome something like the Holocaust? And how does your family react when you spiral down? If, like me, you're interested in the Holocaust but hadn't really thought about the lasting effects in the survivors' lives, pick this up. It was very readable and very thought-provoking.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Powell

    This was more than just another story about surviving the Holocaust in that it dwelt a majority of the time on the life after coming to America and how it impacts their relationships with their family and friends as survivors and how the trauma of it gets passed down to future generations. Told from 3 generations perspective, Rita is a survivor, and she is deeply codependent on her daughter as a result. And her granddaughter suffers from the same insecurities and fears as a result. The first hal This was more than just another story about surviving the Holocaust in that it dwelt a majority of the time on the life after coming to America and how it impacts their relationships with their family and friends as survivors and how the trauma of it gets passed down to future generations. Told from 3 generations perspective, Rita is a survivor, and she is deeply codependent on her daughter as a result. And her granddaughter suffers from the same insecurities and fears as a result. The first half of the book was much more interesting and informative, while the second half kind of dragged on and at one point I was ready for it to be over. In this re release, there is a chapter at the end that talks about how her life in the attic during the hologram is in a lot of ways like the current pandemic of the world and how she is coping with that while living in a nursing home and I found that quite interesting. Thanks to netgalley for this audiobook arc in exchange for my review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sally Wessely

    Rita Lurie is an amazing woman, and so is her daughter. I am grateful that they shared their stories and their histories with all of us. This is more than just another memoir or story about the Holocaust because it gives understanding to the affect the Holocaust has had on future generations. Leslie Gilbert-lurie gave me great insight when she included the definition of holocaust in her prologue to the book. The analogy to the trial by by fire that so many went through is summed up beautifully wh Rita Lurie is an amazing woman, and so is her daughter. I am grateful that they shared their stories and their histories with all of us. This is more than just another memoir or story about the Holocaust because it gives understanding to the affect the Holocaust has had on future generations. Leslie Gilbert-lurie gave me great insight when she included the definition of holocaust in her prologue to the book. The analogy to the trial by by fire that so many went through is summed up beautifully when she says: The fire of hate that the Nazis lit did not consume everything...Their genes had been affected by the intensity of the heat, but grow they did, and thrive they would, as my mother would put it, "bending toward the sun.". I am married to a wonderful man who was born to survivors of the Holocaust. This book confirmed that his is a shared experience found in many children whose parents went the life altering, traumatic experience suffered by those who survived a fire that meant to destroy them and their entire race.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jude

    Liked the first part a lot because I learned more about the Holocaust. Especially liked the true to life depiction of the family that hid the Jews. The section about the transference of something akin to PTSD to the next generation of Holocaust survivors even though they are raised in a peaceful environment was interesting for the first 30 percent. Then it seemed to degrade into navel-gazing and flimsy theories of trait inheritance. The second generation Holocaust survivors in this family are int Liked the first part a lot because I learned more about the Holocaust. Especially liked the true to life depiction of the family that hid the Jews. The section about the transference of something akin to PTSD to the next generation of Holocaust survivors even though they are raised in a peaceful environment was interesting for the first 30 percent. Then it seemed to degrade into navel-gazing and flimsy theories of trait inheritance. The second generation Holocaust survivors in this family are interesting but I believe the author fails to support her theory of the inheritance of a fragile personality and she drags us along on her failed quest. Not a waste of time but the author fails to support her theory.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. It was an interesting story about a Holocaust survivor and how it affected her life and her children's lives forever. I felt like the 2nd half/the daughter's portion of the memoir started to drag out and got long. Near the end I just wanted to finish. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. It was an interesting story about a Holocaust survivor and how it affected her life and her children's lives forever. I felt like the 2nd half/the daughter's portion of the memoir started to drag out and got long. Near the end I just wanted to finish.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jason Staker

    I will give this three stars because Rita's story about her childhood in the Holocaust is tragic, moving, and delivered in a very matter-of-fact fashion that seems to amplify the horror of it. The first third of the book, delivered in Rita's words, were my favorite. The rest of the book, about Leslie's life and growing up as what I can best describe as a wildly codependent, neurotic brat, was less powerful. I mean, it had power in that I routinely found myself thinking, "Don't blame your needine I will give this three stars because Rita's story about her childhood in the Holocaust is tragic, moving, and delivered in a very matter-of-fact fashion that seems to amplify the horror of it. The first third of the book, delivered in Rita's words, were my favorite. The rest of the book, about Leslie's life and growing up as what I can best describe as a wildly codependent, neurotic brat, was less powerful. I mean, it had power in that I routinely found myself thinking, "Don't blame your neediness on the Holocaust." Perhaps that's too harsh. I have no doubt that children of Holocaust survivors take on all kinds of issues because of who is raising them. But, what I saw described of Leslie seemed more like a super annoying pre-teen. Perhaps the link between the Holocaust and her attitude needed a stronger link. Maybe she didn't articulate it properly. I was probably more apt to buy into her argument if at times she didn't show a conscious manipulation of her mother for her own means. The one that stands out is when she wanted to come home from some camp and she said she knew what to say to her mother to convince her to come get her in the middle of the night - just hours before the end of the camp. It came off as unbelievably selfish and manipulative. I felt bad for the parents, not because of the trauma in their past, but because they had a child who was using it to her own ends. Leslie's argument would be strengthened if we actually saw that the other children had the same issues. It seems throughout the book that they were the opposite of Leslie. They weren't as clingy, or needy, or neurotic. It is only in the final chapter of the book she briefly mentions each sibling having felt some impact of their mother's depression. It was kind of a too little, too late situation.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Bending Toward the Sun is a heart-wrenching, emotional memoir. Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with the help of her mother, Rita Lurie, shares their story of surviving through hell and back. When Rita was just five years old, her family as well as their friends received orders from the Gestapo to report to the train station, as they were to be deported from their home town of Urzejowice in Poland. Rita, her family and their relatives vanished through the night. They left behind their home and possessions t Bending Toward the Sun is a heart-wrenching, emotional memoir. Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with the help of her mother, Rita Lurie, shares their story of surviving through hell and back. When Rita was just five years old, her family as well as their friends received orders from the Gestapo to report to the train station, as they were to be deported from their home town of Urzejowice in Poland. Rita, her family and their relatives vanished through the night. They left behind their home and possessions to seek safety from the Germans. Rita’s family comes upon a good friend. His name is Stashik Grajolski. For two years Rita and about eleven other family members lived in Mr. and Mrs. Grajolski’s attic. They eventually were able to make their way out of Poland and set foot on American soil. Bending Toward the Sun tells this amazing story of courage, sadness, and family. I like how this book was broken out into three sections. The first section tells the story of Rita Lurie and her incredible journey. The next two sections are about Leslie and her daughter Mikaela with Rita. They remember their time together from the past to the present. I thought this was a lovely story. I got to know Rita and found her to be a nice woman. This was one memoir I was happy to read. It reminded me of The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place. Two really good non fiction novels. One thing though is that at the beginning as I was just getting to know Rita, I found all the people she came upon hard to keep straight. Other than this factor, I did like this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    In this three-generational memoir, Gilbert-Lurie tells the story of her mother, Rita, who survived the holocaust hiding with most of her extended family in a farmhouse attic. Rita then comes with her father, sister, and stepmother to the United States, where she has a difficult time growing up, and a troubled relationship with her stepmother. The second part of the memoir is Gilbert-Lurie's, as she talks about the effects of being the daughter of a survivor, feeling responsible, from a very youn In this three-generational memoir, Gilbert-Lurie tells the story of her mother, Rita, who survived the holocaust hiding with most of her extended family in a farmhouse attic. Rita then comes with her father, sister, and stepmother to the United States, where she has a difficult time growing up, and a troubled relationship with her stepmother. The second part of the memoir is Gilbert-Lurie's, as she talks about the effects of being the daughter of a survivor, feeling responsible, from a very young age, for her mother's happiness. Finally, there is the story of Mikaela, Rita's granddaughter, who develops severe separation anxiety, which her mother attributes to the effects of the holocaust on a third generation. While this certainly is a likely aspect of the problem, Mikaela seems overly and unhealthily indulged in this, and ultimately it was frustrating reading about a family so overly enmeshed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    This was beautifully written. It took years for the authors to endure/research/prepare/write this memoir, and I (selfishly) read it in less than a week. It was heartbreaking and emotional to read, and yet it was incredibly awe-inspiring. This mother/daughter memoir unlocks the emotions of a family story surrounding events from the Holocaust. It depicts the aftermath of the Holocaust from the perspective of three generations--the survivor (grandmother), the successful professional (mother), and t This was beautifully written. It took years for the authors to endure/research/prepare/write this memoir, and I (selfishly) read it in less than a week. It was heartbreaking and emotional to read, and yet it was incredibly awe-inspiring. This mother/daughter memoir unlocks the emotions of a family story surrounding events from the Holocaust. It depicts the aftermath of the Holocaust from the perspective of three generations--the survivor (grandmother), the successful professional (mother), and the hopeful child (daughter). I loved every minute of this overpowering story and I highly recommend it to those interested in memoirs and WWII/Holocaust. This book will move you. It will make you cry, but it will also help you realize that no matter the circumstances of the past...there is always hope for a brighter future. Thank you, Nancy, for letting me borrow this:)

  10. 4 out of 5

    April

    If the sins of the father are visited upon the son, then are the sorrows of the mother to be carried on by the daughter? Reading Bending Toward The Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie has made me ponder this. Bending Toward The Sun starts out with the narration of Rita, Leslie's mother. Rita and some of her family members survived the Holocaust by hiding in the attic of a family friend. Rita's tale is fascinating, I can't help but ache for her. To be honest, I did cry a bit while reading her story. Read If the sins of the father are visited upon the son, then are the sorrows of the mother to be carried on by the daughter? Reading Bending Toward The Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie has made me ponder this. Bending Toward The Sun starts out with the narration of Rita, Leslie's mother. Rita and some of her family members survived the Holocaust by hiding in the attic of a family friend. Rita's tale is fascinating, I can't help but ache for her. To be honest, I did cry a bit while reading her story. Read the rest of my review here

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The first part of this book was really interesting because it described the life of a Holocaust survivor after the war, which isn't a story that's often told. But after that the book really seemed to drag on; it was like the author was just trying to make the book longer by adding in mundane details. I would recommend it if you are interested in WWII books though. The first part of this book was really interesting because it described the life of a Holocaust survivor after the war, which isn't a story that's often told. But after that the book really seemed to drag on; it was like the author was just trying to make the book longer by adding in mundane details. I would recommend it if you are interested in WWII books though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Rita Lurie tells of how the mother’s holocaust experience affected later generations. The book is told through the eyes of Rita, the mother and a holocaust survivor, and her daughter, Leslie, who grew up in the United States. One of the reasons I wanted to read Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Rita Lur For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Rita Lurie tells of how the mother’s holocaust experience affected later generations. The book is told through the eyes of Rita, the mother and a holocaust survivor, and her daughter, Leslie, who grew up in the United States. One of the reasons I wanted to read Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Rita Lurie was to learn more about trauma influences later generations. This a point often overlooked, and sometimes even ridiculed. That issue, however, was not significantly touched upon in this book. The narration is done by the author, and her family which I felt was lacking. They are not professional narrators and instead of embracing the personal story (ex: To Be Honest by Michael Leviton), they are trying to sound professional. By all means, it’s charming to have a personal story told with a personal touch, not forcibly try to lose it and sound mechanical. I thought the first part of the book, the story of Rita was fascinating. Rita’s story is altogether tragic. As a young girl she had to hide, for two years, in the attic of a Polish farmer during World War II. Rita had to watch her mother and brother die, he aunt lose a baby, and almost died herself. After the war, Rita’s family found themselves strangers in their own country. That is they no longer had a place to call home, and were moving from one camp to another, becoming Displaced Persons, finally immigrating to America. Undeniably a fascinating story which is certainly worthy of being told. The second part, that of Leslie, Rita’s daughter, I found to be disappointing – even though, or maybe because, I was looking forward to it. Leslie grew up in an ideal home, one which many only dream of with a career that many could only envy. In this segment Leslie tries to explain how her mother’s trauma affected her. I don’t doubt that it has, there are many cases like that. Instead of focusing on this however, Leslie seems to gloss over it. She mentions studies and research, but never follows up on them, or how they are applicable to her. I was fascinated by Rita’s story, her experiences, what she remembered versus what really happened, and the worldview as seen through her eyes. On the contrary, the book never got around to focus on what I hoped it would be about

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    I received an audio ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion. Bending Towards the Sun is a memoir of Holocaust survivor Ruth Lurie and her daughter, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie. As a young girl, Ruth and part of her family survived the Holocaust by hiding in the attic of a Polish farmer, then spend several years wandering Europe, stateless, as they wait for a country that will accept them. These formative years had lifelong impacts on Ruth, both physically and emotionally. I received an audio ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion. Bending Towards the Sun is a memoir of Holocaust survivor Ruth Lurie and her daughter, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie. As a young girl, Ruth and part of her family survived the Holocaust by hiding in the attic of a Polish farmer, then spend several years wandering Europe, stateless, as they wait for a country that will accept them. These formative years had lifelong impacts on Ruth, both physically and emotionally. The effects of the Holocaust effect not just Ruth but also her daughter and granddaughter. As a child, Leslie Gilbelrt-Lurie always felt it was necessary to please her mother. She also had separation anxiety when she went away to camp and often thought of worst case scenarios. As an adult, Leslie learns about the multigenerational impact of the Holocaust on the descendents of survivors and sees its truth in her own family. Ruth and Leslie decided to write this book to get Ruth's experiences written down and hopefully help her find some closure. I think it is so important to get real life stories like Ruth's written down while we still can. We have all heard of Anne Frank and her family hiding from the Nazis, but I had not heard of a family successfully hiding through the end of the war. I am so glad that Ruth and part of her family were able to survive. I had heard of the emotional trauma of the Holocaust passing on through DNA to the children of survivors, but this was the first actual case I have read about. I appreciated that this story focused on life after the Holocaust, as opposed to giving a brief summary in an epilogue. Ruth and Laurie do the narration of the audiobook themselves, which really added to Ruth's part of the story. I did not care for Laurie's narration as much; at times, her voice seemed flat. I definitely recommend this book for those who want to learn not just about the Holocaust but about the lasting effects on its survivors.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Missy Kennedy

    ⭐⭐⭐ (Good) A memoir of three generations of Jewish women - mother, daughter, and granddaughter - dealing with the affects the Holocaust had on individuals from the survivor to a generation twice removed. In 1942, Rita Lurie, grandmother, was just five years old, when German tanks appeared on her family's lawn in Poland requiring them to appear at the train station the following day. During the night, the family went into hiding. They were eventually taken in by a family that allowed them to live ⭐⭐⭐ (Good) A memoir of three generations of Jewish women - mother, daughter, and granddaughter - dealing with the affects the Holocaust had on individuals from the survivor to a generation twice removed. In 1942, Rita Lurie, grandmother, was just five years old, when German tanks appeared on her family's lawn in Poland requiring them to appear at the train station the following day. During the night, the family went into hiding. They were eventually taken in by a family that allowed them to live in their attic for two years. During this time, Rita's mother and brother die. Unfortunately, these deaths had a negative impact on her ability to form relationships for the rest of her life. Rita and some of her family eventually arrive in America, and the memoir chronicles her life and that of her daughter's and granddaughter's. These stories also introduce a number of family members - some interesting, others not so much. The story of Rita and her family's surviving the Holocaust is very good. The second half of the book shares the struggle Rita's daughter, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, and granddaughter, Mikaela Lurie, have due to the influences that survivors "pass on to their descendants." One of the things that made this book not appeal to me was the overuse of figurative expressions, such as "It was like a schoolteacher clumsily motivating a tired student." The use of these phrases became comical and wordy. I rated the book 3/5 stars because the story of Rita surviving the Holocaust was excellent. The book was a struggle to finish due to the second half of the book which seemed to drag on forever. #BendingTowardTheSun #LeslieGilbertLurie #NetGalley #Booked_This_Weekend

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

    This book recounts the lives of 3 generations of Jewish women following the Grandma's survival of the holocaust. It is told from the points of view of the grandma (Rita), mother (Leslie), and briefly the pre-teen granddaughter (Makayla). Starting with Rita's preschool years in Poland before the Nazi occupation, the story winds through fleeing her home, hiding in a farmers attic for 2 years, losing her mother and brother, and the aftermath of the war in Displaced Person Camps. She survived TB in This book recounts the lives of 3 generations of Jewish women following the Grandma's survival of the holocaust. It is told from the points of view of the grandma (Rita), mother (Leslie), and briefly the pre-teen granddaughter (Makayla). Starting with Rita's preschool years in Poland before the Nazi occupation, the story winds through fleeing her home, hiding in a farmers attic for 2 years, losing her mother and brother, and the aftermath of the war in Displaced Person Camps. She survived TB in Italy before emigration to the US with her father, stepmother and sister. We hear how hard it was to adjust to life in New York, only to be uprooted a few years later to Chicago. Then after marrying young, she moved again to California. The actress who tells her story does an excellent job. From there, the story is told from Leslie's point of view. Growing up in California, hearing bits and pieces of the family's past, picking up on her mom's need to feel safe above all else. Their emotional lives were very intertwined, which at times strengthened them and at other times put extra strain on them. Eventually, they decided to work together to write this book and we hear about their conversations with relatives and Leslie's trip to Poland to see the town and specifically the attic where her mom survived. This part was read by Leslie herself, and although she did a decent job, it would probably have been more enjoyable to listen to an actor. It is a beautiful work about a sad, dark time, and the amazing way that people persevere and find joy. It breaks my heart that the holocaust happened, but I am outraged that there are people who deny it. Hopefully, this book will help make people more aware our history.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Josephine Sorrell

    Bending Toward the Sun is the memoir of a family’s experiences during the horror of the Holocaust. Their story is told in three generations of women, Rita, Leslie, and Mikaela. At the front of this memoir is the powerful and inspiring resilience of the human spirit. The first story is told in the voice of Rita Lurie who was only five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. They persuaded a neighboring Polish farmer to harbour them in his attic. This was in Bending Toward the Sun is the memoir of a family’s experiences during the horror of the Holocaust. Their story is told in three generations of women, Rita, Leslie, and Mikaela. At the front of this memoir is the powerful and inspiring resilience of the human spirit. The first story is told in the voice of Rita Lurie who was only five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. They persuaded a neighboring Polish farmer to harbour them in his attic. This was in exchange of jewelry and furs. From 1942 to 1944, she and fourteen members of her family hid in a cramped, dark and filthy attic, subsisting on scraps of food. I cannot wrap my mind around what this existence must have been. It’s unimaginable. Adding to the severity of the situation, little Rita is witness to her little brother and her mother both dying by her side. Her toddler brother possibly died of suffocation to keep him from crying. After two years in hiding, Rita and her surviving family spent the next five years wandering throughout Europe, living in displaced-persons camps, waiting for a country to allow them residence. While in the displacement camp, Lurie’s father remarried and Laurie had deep resentment toward her. The story later skips to decades later where Rita is now the matriarch of a close-knit family in California. Rita reeling from her past, unknowingly passes to her children her feelings of fear, apprehension, and guilt. The collaborative story reveals how deeply the Holocaust remains in the hearts and minds of survivors and their descendants. The first story was the most engaging. It was sad but almost sadder was how the past affected everyone’s future

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bekah B

    It is incredibly rare that I DNF a book, it happens probably only once or twice a year. Unfortunately this audiobook was one of them. Rita's story of when the Nazis arrived in her town, going on the run and her family having to live in the attic of a relative's house for quite some time was really interesting and heart breaking. I cannot imagine how those people felt having to live like that in constant fear for their lives. For Rita to go through that as a young child and for her to experience It is incredibly rare that I DNF a book, it happens probably only once or twice a year. Unfortunately this audiobook was one of them. Rita's story of when the Nazis arrived in her town, going on the run and her family having to live in the attic of a relative's house for quite some time was really interesting and heart breaking. I cannot imagine how those people felt having to live like that in constant fear for their lives. For Rita to go through that as a young child and for her to experience the death of relatives in the attic must have been horrific. However, I feel that the book just didn't do justice to her experiences and I felt these major life altering events were not focused on enough. There could have been more details and longer time spent on this period of her life so that readers can get a better understanding of what she went through to then be able to link it to how it affected her in later life. I really think that was what I was looking for with this book, a clear before and after picture of cause and effect. I could see some of this obviously, but some of her later story as an adult I couldn't seem to connect to her history. I had been really intrigued by the generational trauma aspect but again, it was difficult to connect the stories and instead Leslie's part (Rita's daughter) just seemed like the story of a woman who didn't think her Mum did a good enough job raising her. DNF at 70% Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Ewald

    Very unique story about the Holocaust, and how it not only affects the survivor, but can bring psychological issues to generations removed from the survivor. It starts out the story of Rita Lurie who was 5 years old when she and her family fled their home in Poland and spent 2 years in a friend's attic hiding from the Nazis. 14 members of her family in a cramped dark attic. Rita is traumatized seeing her baby brother die, and her mother becoming depressed and losing her will to live, to die befo Very unique story about the Holocaust, and how it not only affects the survivor, but can bring psychological issues to generations removed from the survivor. It starts out the story of Rita Lurie who was 5 years old when she and her family fled their home in Poland and spent 2 years in a friend's attic hiding from the Nazis. 14 members of her family in a cramped dark attic. Rita is traumatized seeing her baby brother die, and her mother becoming depressed and losing her will to live, to die before her eyes, a loss that haunts her for the rest of her life. After the war, she and her family spend the next 5 years wandering throughout Europe waiting for a country to accept them. Eventually they find themselves on the way to America. America is not easy though, and she finds herself feeling as an outcast. She marries and becomes a mother to the author and several other children. As happy as she is with her family, the shadow of the loss of her mother looms over her. Her anxiety becomes something that is 'passed' to Leslie in the form of extreme anxiety of being away from her mom. It becomes a cycle that is 'passed' to Leslie's own daughter. It is only when Leslie and her mom embark on the journey to tell Rita's story that Leslie begins to understand her mother's dark periods. Often times their story is difficult to read, but necessary, as well.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    This is an amazing book! It's a gift to all mothers and daughters and families who are trying to understand WHY things are the way they are. The book is more than about the Holocaust, a truly horrific experience and time in our world, but about how children and grandchildren are affected by the trauma a parent goes through. I am jealous of Leslie for having the time with her mother and getting her mother and family to share all they did. What a gift! I found out a few years ago that my birth mot This is an amazing book! It's a gift to all mothers and daughters and families who are trying to understand WHY things are the way they are. The book is more than about the Holocaust, a truly horrific experience and time in our world, but about how children and grandchildren are affected by the trauma a parent goes through. I am jealous of Leslie for having the time with her mother and getting her mother and family to share all they did. What a gift! I found out a few years ago that my birth mother had died - and I never got the chance to talk with her or get to know her. The ways in which Leslie was able to come to understand and demonstrate how her mother's trauma affected her was brilliant. This memoir speaks volumes and left my head and heart reeling. Working with those affected by domestic violence or other issues - I will always be thinking about the impact of this and could the negative impacts have been altered, changed, improved with counseling and support? I find myself self-evaluating more of why I am the way I am and the way I parent. I wish my daughter would read this and consider my past as it translated to her growing up - and my sisters, my aunt, and friends. Powerful on many levels. Expertly and loving written, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Becki Basley

    Bending towards the sun : A mother and daughter memoir By Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Rita Lurie (Scribd). The time Is world war 2 and setting is Poland. Forced to flee for their lives, Rita went into hiding with 14 of her family members in a crowded attic. They had to stay quiet and move as little as possible while the farmer downstairs did his best to keep them alive. They lived in these conditions five years. At the end of the war, Rita and her family move several times before settling in the Uni Bending towards the sun : A mother and daughter memoir By Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Rita Lurie (Scribd). The time Is world war 2 and setting is Poland. Forced to flee for their lives, Rita went into hiding with 14 of her family members in a crowded attic. They had to stay quiet and move as little as possible while the farmer downstairs did his best to keep them alive. They lived in these conditions five years. At the end of the war, Rita and her family move several times before settling in the United States. As is often the case, a part of them in their psyche remained in that attic. This book takes you through the life of Rita and the challenges and nightmares not only she lives with but how it affected her children and even her grandchildren. Its a very insightful book , highly recommend

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book is in two parts the first is the story of the Polish Jewish mother who was a survivor of the holocaust. The second was the story of her daughter who was born and raised in America. The first part was read by the mother herself, very moving and explained the situation for so many people very well. Despite the human horror of the events and tragic loss of life, the mother and her family left everything and emigrated to America to begin a new life. An opportunity to start a new life and r This book is in two parts the first is the story of the Polish Jewish mother who was a survivor of the holocaust. The second was the story of her daughter who was born and raised in America. The first part was read by the mother herself, very moving and explained the situation for so many people very well. Despite the human horror of the events and tragic loss of life, the mother and her family left everything and emigrated to America to begin a new life. An opportunity to start a new life and repair the damage done. The daughter who appears to have had a loving home and living the American dream is tormented by the effects of what her mother went through. The second part of the book read by the author became a chore to listen/read. I did finish it, three stars for part 1. Thank you to #Netgalley for the audio version of this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Helen Rebecca Blog

    Five year old Rita had to flee her home in Poland from the Nazis with her family and live in an attic for over 2 years. The family existed crowded in there silently, surviving on scraps of food. Rita and the family members that survived then spent years drifting through Europe before settling in America. Bending Towards The Sun is harrowing, moving, thought provoking and poignant and will stay with me for a long time. Whilst what happened during the war is something everyone knows I’m ashamed to Five year old Rita had to flee her home in Poland from the Nazis with her family and live in an attic for over 2 years. The family existed crowded in there silently, surviving on scraps of food. Rita and the family members that survived then spent years drifting through Europe before settling in America. Bending Towards The Sun is harrowing, moving, thought provoking and poignant and will stay with me for a long time. Whilst what happened during the war is something everyone knows I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know much of what happened to the Holocaust survivors afterwards. Learning that the trauma from it has been passed through the generations is heartbreaking. Both Rita and her daughter Leslie are incredible women and I’m so grateful their story has been told. The audio version of this is a great listen. Both narrators, including Rita’s daughter Leslie, have interesting, captivating voices that really tell the families story. With thanks to NetGalley, Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and Alcove Publishing for my audiobook.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    mother daughter memoir about the effects the holocaust had on both. mother, Rita Lurie hid in a farmers attic with 14 other family members for 2 years. during that time her 2 year old brother died and her birth mom did 2 weeks later. She ended up in NY and then Chicago after her father remarried. She did not get along with her stepmom and her dad was broken. She fell in love with Frank and had 2 daughters and a son. She had a great marriage but depression, PTSD etc stayed with her. She overcame mother daughter memoir about the effects the holocaust had on both. mother, Rita Lurie hid in a farmers attic with 14 other family members for 2 years. during that time her 2 year old brother died and her birth mom did 2 weeks later. She ended up in NY and then Chicago after her father remarried. She did not get along with her stepmom and her dad was broken. She fell in love with Frank and had 2 daughters and a son. She had a great marriage but depression, PTSD etc stayed with her. She overcame it but had bouts. Most severe incident was treated with ECT. Tours with daughter to to schools to talk about her story

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erica Char

    What this family had to endure during the holocaust is heartbreaking and in many ways incredibly fortunate, which the step mother constantly points out. The writing style and the font choices really turned me off and outside of Ruchel’s experience I lost interest.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Thoughtful and poignant, this memoir is difficult to put down. I am inspired by the generations of love within these pages. It is admiral and awe-inspiring what both Lurie women have gone on to achieve in her lives. Highly recommend.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I know that this is a book she needed to write. It was a bit too much told over and over again which made me lose interest. However, It is such a amazingly detailed of the time, no one wants to talk about.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Ross

    "Excellent" describes this memoir... "Excellent" describes this memoir...

  28. 4 out of 5

    NKay

    This is a true story. The book is excellent and you won’t be able to put it down. I’ve read it multiple times.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    A must read Thoughtful, Intense, and totally relevant. Many of us wonder how would we have survived. How would be have lived through the worst atrocities of the modern era. This book takes us into the attic and the lives of people lucky enough to be alive today

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam Warner

    Boring, slow moving. I am giving up.

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