Book Review - The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
This Saturday is Veterans Day, so this week I'm featuring books about WWII: The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger and We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter (coming up on Thursday.) This book was sent to me by the publisher, and it is one of the best complimentary books I've received since starting this blog. I loved it so much that I chose it for this month's Virtual Book Club.
Edith Eva Eger is a Holocaust survivor. At the age of 16 she and her family were taken from their home in Hungary and placed in an internment center and later taken to Auschwitz. Joseph Mengele (known as the Angel of Death) sent both of Edith's parents to the gas chamber soon after they arrived at Auschwitz. Later that same day, he forced Edith to dance the waltz to “The Blue Danube” and rewarded her with a loaf of bread, which she shared with the other women being held prisoners. These women would later save Edith life toward the end of the war. Somehow, both Edith and her sister survived the war until American troops liberated the camps - one soldier found Edith, barely alive and nearly unresponsive, in a pile of dying bodies.
Edith talks a lot about her mindset while being held as a prisoner of war. Even at such a young age, she was able to remain mentally strong, and determined to survive. Her motto, If I survive the day, I'll be free tomorrow kept her going - along with the hope that she'd be reunited with her other sister (who was away studying music when her family was taken by the Nazis) and her boyfriend. But what I love most about this book is that her story doesn't end with the war - she goes on to tell us how her life evolved after the war. We learn about her marriage, her divorce, her schooling, and eventually coming to terms with her life experiences. She gives a lot of credit to Viktor E. Frankl and his book, Man's Search for Meaning, which was given to her by a classmate who knew little else about her other than that she survived the war.
Edith's story, without a doubt, will stick with me. I've read quite a bit about WWII - both for my academic studies and for recreational reading - but this one was truly special. If you read just one book this year, I hope it is this one. It will restore your faith in humanity, teach you about our world history, and inspire you to live your best life. Edith is now 89 years old, has a doctorate in Psychology, and "counsels veterans suffering from PTSD, women who were abused, and many others." She continues to give lectures on her experiences and the power to heal. She still dances, and often ends her lectures with a high kick.
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