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Review of latest book.

A Smile that Lasts Forever

A Smile that Lasts Forever (review)

by Nancy Allinson

What is the smile that lasts forever?  I won’t give away the source of that title.  You will need to read about Karen’s grandmother, Omi Trude and step-mother of her father, Max to find out!

Karen writes in a very conversational yet informative style.  We enjoy and learn at the same time.   Karen tells the story of a family, her father’s, all of whom traveled on a passenger ship prior to Kristallnacht, May 1938 from Germany to the U.S.A.  In her companion book,

Love and Luck, Karen’s mother and her family, emigrated, via boat, from Germany, to Shanghai, China.  That is another must read story!  What I really liked most about Karen’s current book, is that her family members become our family, we care about them and and what happens to them.  What happens to Omi Trude’s mother, Elise?  What happens to Omi Trude later in her life?  How has she affected Karen?  How does Max find success—he starts out as a baker in the U.S.A?   We want to keep on reading to find out.  On a personal level, Karen spoke to my own memories of my father and mother; their respective parents came to the U.S.A. from eastern Europe during the 1890s.  They experienced pogroms and poverty.  My father just like Max, hoarded things.  For example, my father held on to an old rain coat until I was in my late 20s.  The story that Karen Levi tells, is not only relevant to the children and grandchildren of holocaust survivors, but applies to those whose families were immigrants as well as those who lived through the Depression years.   I strongly recommend both of Karen’s memoirs.  They go together.  They also stand alone, so you can read them in any order.  If you read A Smile. . . first, you are going to want to read, Love and Luck next.  Enjoy!!

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