Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Conversations We Never Had ~ A Review

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I was recently given the opportunity to read the book The Conversations We Never Had by Jeffrey H Konis. (Paperback, 208 pages Published May 3rd 2016 by Outskirts Press ISBN 1478767294) It is a fictitious account of the time he spent living with his grandmother and the conversations he never had; but wished he did.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and honestly it took me a little while to begin to read it. For some reason I thought it would be sad, or dry. It was neither and I'm now wondering why I was even hesitant.

This is a well written and thoroughly enjoyable book, I was drawn into Jeffinga's world immediately, looking forward to hearing more from Grandma Ola as she recanted her life while chain-smoking Newports. All the while thinking, regrettably, of the opportunities I squandered as well. Never thinking to ask the questions that plague me now as I write and research my own family history.

The cover photo was especially haunting - I found myself looking at it often as I read about the life and times of the family portrayed in the book. As the story unfolded it added greater context for me, as the reader, to put an actual face with the events.

I got the impression that the writing of the story was the catharsis Mr Konis required to work through his regret. In doing so he surely was brought closer to understanding the life and times of his Jewish ancestors in Poland during the time of the Holocaust. The writing of this book was clearly a labor of love and it shows in the story.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story, whether having an interest in history, genealogy or family dynamic. It's a quick read, but a story that will stay with you and cause you to think about your own family and the conversations you might never have had.

From the back cover: "This is the dream of a grandson, who had taken his grandmother for granted, to have a second chance, the opportunity to learn about his family from the only person in the world who knew them, who remembered them. My father remembers nothing about his real parents for they were dead by the time he was nine. Olga, his mother's younger sister, survived the Holocaust, found my father hiding on a farm in Poland and later brought him to America to raise as her own. He never asked her any questions about his parents. Though I later moved in with Olga for a period of time, I repeated history and never asked her the questions my father never asked. Olga has been gone for more than twenty years, along with everything she could have told me, leaving me with a sense of guilt and profound regret. The Conversations We Never Had is a chronicle of my time spent with Grandma "Ola" and tells the stories she might have shared had I asked the questions."

©2017 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved

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