Anna Rosner Blay
LH, East Doncaster, 30 May 04
Dear Ms Blay,
I’m not sure that this letter will ever reach you, but I had to give it a go! I have just finished reading your latest book ‘Not Paradise’ and it has been more than a book to me, more than a collection of experiences and stories. It is my personal handbook on starting or rebuilding a new life.
I am now 34 years of age and since the age of twenty, have been battling physical and mental illness of a severe kind. Now that I am improving and discussing my own childhood trauma, I find I am starting a new life. Rebuilding and change in one’s life is traumatic in itself, as I believe your book clearly outlines.
I have your book ‘Sister, Sister’ on order at my local bookstore, and look forward to receiving it soon. Congratulations on a fantastic book, thank you for providing me with more inspiration than any doctor, therapist or other health worker could do. Most of all, what shone through in your writing was a clear theme of ‘hope’, and I believe that if there was more hope in our daily lives, we would be inspired to keep going. Thank you, Ms Blay, for such a brilliant book.
GH, Armadale, 4/4/04
a real power house of delicacy and reality combined with so much more intimacy than I have ever read in this area
KE, Middle Park, 7/4/04
Just wanted to let you know that I've started reading 'Not Paradise'. So far I have been inspired by the 'simple profoundness' of "I know I have to journey towards what I want, not just escape from what I don't want"
KA, Caulfield, 13/4/04
… intelligent, heartbreaking honesty … this should be a handbook for men and women alike after divorce, or going through any difficult processes … at all times delicate, discreet, showing refinement.
MG, Melbourne, 14/4/04
I haven’t been able to put your book down. Congratulations! It’s really fantastic, what can I say, you’re a star. You should be having an amazing, happy, fabulous life. What you’ve accomplished in talking to those four women, touched me so much.
PV, Toorak, 27/4/04
You’ve done something very exciting, at the cutting edge of writing about the Holocaust, in that you’re writing about the effect of it, your own interpretation of it and how it has affected your life.
Paula David MSW
Publisher of ‘If Not Now…’ e-journal, 3/5/04
Here is Anna's second review ... I just spent yesterday spellbound and immersed in her new book. It is a book that will definitely speak to everyone here ... Most of all Anna has articulated why my work with survivors is both energizing, enervating and privileging ... at the same time as painful and riddled with questions and doubt.
She has intimately explored four women's lives and allowed all of us to see past these older women's struggles, to their joys, passions, pride and yes, pain and loss and devastation. Throughout the book, Anna weaves in the story of her own trauma and her own journey through the pain of self discovery.
The book is truly inspirational, for Anna's ability to tackle honesty, to grapple openly with every woman's exploration of the minefields of our emotional makeup, further laden by the issues of being 2nd gen and female in a post-War often disinterested world. Anna has a way with prose that makes the book hard to put down. I felt as though I knew the four (plus Anna is five) women intimately ... they have so much in common with the women that keep me inspired, yet at the same time, they are remarkable individuals, whose individuality is their force. Anna's ability to join them in baring their souls will make anyone who reads the book that much more aware of the challenges, the pain and ultimately the rewards and growth of being honest with ones self.
Anna ... this book is truly inspirational, and I believe is a must read for anyone who is a child of Survivors, for anyone who is a woman who has ever questioned why she is travelling on the path she's on, for anyone who is a man who cares to ponder the evolution of relationships in our time and for anyone who wonders where pain, trauma and loss may ultimately lead them: to a better and safer place within their own skin.
Yasher Koach to you Anna. May the success of this book be the beginning of many new richnesses in your life. And please, when you see any of the women in the book, tell them that a woman in Canada has grown and has been enriched by the fact they shared their lives with you. Mazal tov again,
EL, Israel, 3/5/04
You take the reader on a unique intellectual, spiritual, philosophical and
CR, USA, 13/5/04
I have just finished reading your latest book and wanted so much to tell you that it completely held my interest. It was well written and told a tale of great courage, despite untold tragedies and sorrows. An aura of optimism prevails throughout your telling of these stories (including your own) … I congratulate you and wish you great success in all your future endeavours.
VL, Melbourne, 24/5/04
very powerful and sad to think of the hidden pain people had gone through from those days. I also really like how you captivate the fact that the pain though some times kept hidden still lingers on in people’s lives well after the war was over..
READER RESPONSES TO NOT PARADISE