A debut memoir about adversity, identity, and a mystical quest for spiritual succor.
When Lucia Weitzman was just a child in Poland and still known as “Rose,” her Jewish parents were desperate to shelter her from the occupying Nazis. Their first attempt to place her with a Christian couple backfired; the two quickly returned the girl but not the money her parents had given them. Determined to find her a new home, they tried again; this time, their daughter was placed in the custody of the Swiateks, a couple that raised her as if she was their own. She grew up largely unaware of her Jewish heritage, disconnected from her own bloodline—an estranged diaspora of one. Years later, while living in the United States, her husband, Herman, died, and she was once again wracked with grief. She traveled to Jerusalem and visited the Western Wall in search of spiritual guidance, and she challenged God with a question that bordered on insolence: “God, why were You removed and not involved during dark periods on the planet, like the Holocaust, 9/11, and other tragedies?” Theologically speaking, she was posing the classic question regarding the problem of evil. On a more personal level, though, she was taking God to task for his ostensible abandonment of her in particular. She then had an overwhelming moment of mystical epiphany, sincerely believing that God had furnished her with an answer. This remembrance is co-penned by S. Mitchell Weitzman, Lucia’s son, and the intimacy and affection of their relationship emanates from every page. However, the narrative jumps back and forth between Lucia’s childhood and adulthood, and these quick chronological transitions can be disorienting. The poignancy of her revelations, though, and her lifelong quest to rediscover her lost self will enthrall even readers who are skeptical of all things mystical. Although there’s no shortage of stories out there recounting the depredations of the Holocaust, it’s especially stirring to see one from the double perspective of youth and adulthood.
A beautiful, meditative account of literary and