Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Review: Displaced Person

From WWII refugee to Indentured Servant, you will enjoy reading about Ella's life in Displaced Person by Ella E. Schneider Hilton.

Overview: In her moving and deeply personal memoir, Ella E. Schneider Hilton chronicles her remarkable childhood—one that took her from the purges of Stalinist Russia to the refugee camps of Nazi and postwar Germany to the cotton fields of Jim Crow Mississippi before granting her access to the American dream. Despite her hard life as a refugee, Ella finds solace in others and retains her indomitably inquisitive spirit. Throughout her ordeals, she never relinquishes hope or sight of her goal of education. Poignantly and freshly rendered, this is a tale of determination. It is the story of a girl caught up first in the maelstrom of World War II and then in the complexities of American southern culture, adjusting to events beyond her control with resiliency as she searches for faith, knowledge, and a place in the world.

Dawn's Recommendation: 4.5 of 5 Stars

What I Liked: This was a really enjoyable memoir. The author shared every aspect of her growing up years in Russia, Germany, and the U.S. It reveals the family's challenging living conditions as a refugee and later as they worked for their sponsor in the U.S. to pay them back for their traveling fare. You read how hard their lives were, what they ate, how hard they worked, and the sacrifices for their children. Ella was a delight to read about. I love her constant questions and her drive for schooling. I especially appreciate her willingness to share intimate details of her life (from how they used the bathroom to how she was almost raped) -- this made for very real-life reading. You leave the book feeling like you know her well.

What I Didn't Like:  I loved the book, though I was saddened to read how Ella was disciplined, but I think many parents in that generation believed in "spare the rod, spoil the child" and believed in corporal punishment. 

Great read for the summer!

What is your favorite "memoir" or story from history?

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