A beautifully written memoir about the author’s horrific childhood experiences in Latvia during World War II.
Referring to herself as Lara in her memoir, author Leinvebers goes back and forth between her present, when she is a world-renowned pianist living in Canada, and her childhood, when she endured extreme measures of brutality and abuse. Lara was 6 years old when World War II exploded into her life and changed everything. As a little girl, Lara was happy. She and her mother, father and older brother, Lars, lived in a beautiful home, had their own farm and plenty of animals that Lara loved to dote upon, especially her cat Mikus. On Christmas Eve, her severely wounded brother came to the door. He was found by soldiers, dragged away and killed. Lara and her parents suffered through tireless bombs, gunshots and mass destruction as everything around them was blown to bits. Lara was so horrified by the cruelty inflicted upon herself and others that, at one point, she became mute. Leinvebers writes with a simplicity that captures the thought process of a child living in fear. She reports—through the eyes and ears of a child—the destruction and inhumane treatment at the hands of those whom Lara calls “assassins.” Though these assassins abused and tormented her nearly every day, she and her parents fought to stay alive, and she kept her forgiving, loving nature. The author candidly discusses how that experience affected her life as an adult—she attempts to distract herself with her love of music and continually works to the point of exhaustion in an attempt to avoid thinking about what happened. Though she may now be far removed from the war in both time and place, the past always manages to find her, and her emotional scars and wounds are from far gone.
An honest, heartbreaking story of a child exposed to prolonged war and how the psychological effects of war can linger into adulthood.