Date Completed: 12/26/15
Bubbie, Lazega’s dear Jewish grandmother, has lived a very exciting life. This biography is a retelling of her life that includes extensive research, conversations with Bubbie, and anecdotes about Russel Lazega’s family. The overarching theme was what a badass Bubbie has had to be her whole life and her escape from Poland/Belgium to America during World War II. She certainly had a lot of unexpected circumstances in her life. Take this scene for example, “Quietly she crept around the alley and peeked her head through the service entrance. The place looked abandoned like a ghost town left in the midst of its daily business…. The old shopkeeper and his wife had been overcome by a gas leak and were near death when Lea aired out the building and called an ambulance. In gratitude, the grocers promised her free groceries for life.”
The switch between different writing styles threw me off in the beginning, but as I gained comfort with the switches, I began noticing parallels and connections between Bubbie’s present day attitude and her experience during the war (which I believe is what Lazega is going for). Her story is very well portrayed, and certainly not unique, but not often heard in such a personal light.
While on the one hand this incredibly personal story stands out because it is personal, I believe some of this book was hindered because it was too personal for the author. Parts of this book were superfluous in my opinion, particularly anecdotes that did not reveal Bubbie’s nature, as the story was supposed to be about Bubbie. Sometimes authors get caught up in every detail and cling to anecdotes because they see the humor in them, but forget that their audience won’t understand and won’t care. That would be my only critique of this book.
I loved the inclusion of the pictures at the end. They add a personal touch that completes the whole feel of this book.The chapter titles were clever, too, such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb Chop” or “Six Degrees of Aggravation”. This would be a good read for anyone interested in either Jewish history or World War II history.
Russel Lazega is a lawyer in Miami Beach, Florida. As such, he’s written Florida law books, but this is his first foray into creative non-fiction writing.
I received a copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing.com for an honest review.