How to Make a Life
By Florence Reiss Kraut
NEW FAMILY SAGA FOLLOWS ONE FAMILY ACROSS GENERATIONS
TACKLING TRAUMA AND CHALLENGES WITH COURAGE AND LOVE
“Florence Kraut has written a sensitive and compelling multigenerational novel that begins with tragedy and ends with hope. Each chapter traces a family member who erases the scars of history’s indelible mark with
courage, determination, faith and love. A wonderful read.”
- Marsha Temlock, Author, The Exile and Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect; What You Can Do
Matriarch Ida Amdur and her daughter Bessie escape from Ukraine to America in 1905, fleeing the persecution of Jews in a pogrom, or massacre, in which five members of their family were murdered. But fleeing one tragedy doesn’t guarantee an easy life for them or the generations that follow.
In How to Make a Life by Florence Reiss Kraut [She Writes Press, Oct. 2020], a multi-layered saga of four generations of the Weissman family, we see how the trauma and challenges faced by the family members impact their relationships and future generations. Betrayal, secrets, accidents, illnesses, good luck and bad are woven through the novel. As personal desires come into conflict with family needs, the Weissmans must accept each other’s mistakes and differences or risk cutting ties with the very people who anchor their place in the world.
Anyone who comes from a large, close family will recognize the intricacy of the connections among these varied and sometimes flawed people. Anyone who is not from such a family will learn from having entered this world. Readers of Colm Tóibín and Anne Patchett will devour How to Make a Life and it is a perfect book club pick.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A native New Yorker, Florence Reiss Kraut was raised and educated in four of the five boroughs of New York City. With a BA in English and a Masters in Social Work she worked as a clinician, a family therapist and eventually CEO of a family service agency before retiring to write and travel. Her own close family of 26 aunts and uncles and 27 first cousins and listening to stories around the kitchen table, coffee klatches and family parties inspired her to write her fictional, multi-generational family drama, How to Make a Life.
She has published stories for children and teens, romance stories for national magazines, literary stories, and personal essays for the Westchester section of the New York Times. Her fiction has appeared in publications such as The Evening Street Press and SNReview.
Connect with Florence Reiss Kraut at FlorenceReissKraut.com, Facebook (@FlorenceReissKrautAuthor) and Goodreads.
How to Make a Life will be available October 2020 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org and more.
In 1905, Ida escaped the pograms of Kotovka, Ukraine that killed her husband, parents and most of her children. She escapes to America with her surviving ten-year old daughter Beilah and three month old daughter Feige only to have tragedy strike again. Ida builds her life up again, growing her family and taking care of her grandkids. As Ida watches her daughter and grandkids grow up she sees the effect of her past through the generations and how they learn to triumph.
How to Make A Life follows a family through five generations of hardship and survival through the years. The opening scene packed a strong punch and set a tone of struggle, loss and overcoming adversity as Ida's family was killed due to their religion. The writing is straightforward and does not mince words when it comes to typically difficult topics. Each chapter follows a different member of Ida's family through the years as they face different challenges in life and within their family. Through the generations, many different themes arose such as mental illness, grief, faithfulness, religion, PTSD, suicide, pregnancy loss and aging. Even though the story was told through so many different lenses, the family was always central to their thoughts and decisions. As the generations passed, I did have some trouble keeping some of the characters straight, however, the family tree diagram at the beginning helped me sort everyone out. Overall, an intriguing look at the complexity of familial relationships and the impact of a traumatic event on future generations.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.