BOOK BOOKS A Mountain of Crumbs A Memoir by Elena Gorokhova –

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A Mountain of Crumbs A MemoirT even my provincial Aunt Muza sometimes says Merci beaucoup I feel alot is learned about how life really was in the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain how people thought what they ate and wore and read and how they spent their time Summers at the dacha Pioneer study roups How a Russian child relates to her mother and siblings Elena was born in 1956 There are insightful thoughts on how different lanuages reflect cultural differences There is no word for privacy in Russian Maybe there are similar words but they are not really the sameThrough humorous and De Brandende Brug (De Grijze Jager, gripping narrative the author speaks of her own life behind the Iron Curtain She speaks of fishing and mushroom hunting and coming of age and death All is depicted with real emotion both humor and sadness It isreat I have read about half so far Wonderful photos are included DNF This was clearly a case of it s not you it s me I m way too restless for this right now This is very much someone telling a story and keeping me at a distance and I need escapism to be fully immersed at the mo I may come back to it another dayI may not I didn t like this book as much as I thought I would The book is beautifully written and there are a few charming stories from Lena s childhood but overall it was a dull and sometimes frustrating read The book is pretty slow paced and there was not really anything overly exciting that happened in Lena s life There was the time her father passed away but she didn t write much about it It was written almost as a fact with not much detail about her actual Humanizing Big Data grieving process other than an occasional thought about him from time to time throughout her life There was also the summer she spent on the beach which I enjoyed reading but it almost was out of place with the rest of the book It seemed like this Lena on the beach was a completely different person than in the rest of the book I have a sneaky suspicion that perhaps all of the stories from the beach were not true or that she is holding back some of her personality in the rest of the book An example of the above includes the paragraph where she states she first had sex at age 16 with a man 20 years her senior at a party It seemed so bizarre and out of place I m sure there were stories like that that Lena could have put in her book I m sure they would have made it a better read as well Other than the book being somewhat boring I just don t understand the urgency toet out of Russia and o to America There was no event or series of events in her life that lead the reader to understand why Lena was so unhappy with her life Se spent the first chapters of the book telling us about her mother and why the way she is I feel that she should have put the same effort into making the reader understand the of communist Russia and making the reader understand the state of communist Russia and it affected life There were only little limpses of oppression with little to no explanation She stated that Russian citizens are not allowed to visit friends abroad as if it were something everyone should know Also she comments on uards in front of restaurants keeping people out although Communist Russia is suppose to be for the collective ood If that is so who exactly eats in these restaurants As someone who does not come from a communist country I wish she would have explained it much than she did As a reader with little knowledge on communism it seemed odd that a young highly educated woman with a Life Is Unfair (Malcolm in the Middle, good job was trying toet out of Russia as if her life depended on it Things really didn t seem that bad from my reading point It also seemed to me a little childish that she was holding on to this fantasy of America and that if she moved there her life would suddenly be easy and happy There were no details about how her life was after moving to the states Perhaps it is in another memoir There is only a bit of an epilogue that states she is remarried to the love of her life living in a big house has a reat daughter and money to spend Sounds like the perfect American dream I just feel that the older Lena ot the less I liked her We all want to be free and independent but at the same time there are obligations in life Also family I found it terribly selfish of her to be thinking so much about herself and nothing of her mother and sister who have always been by her side And for what reason does she have to leave Well from my reading it was because she wanted to read racy books and buy pantyhose I just think she is a self centered woman who thinks only of herself So 2 stars for this book I m really disappointed in it and surprised at all the The Billionaires New Assistant (The New Dominators, great reviews The elegant writing style was whatave this memoir the second star If it wasn t for that it definatley would have been a one star There s just something about Lena I don t like and I don t think she s telling us the whole story Happy Reading. To her about the horrors of the Bolshevik Revolution and probes the daily deprivations and small joys of her family's bunkerlike existence Through Elena's captivating voice we learn not only the personal story of Russia in the second half of the twentieth century but also the story of one rebellious citizen whose love of a foreign language finally transports her to a new world 'This moving memoir made me cry' The New York Times. Child Gorokhova developed a sense of suspicion and mistrust about the myths that the authorities had heaped upon the public particularly with the children in their schools about the myths that the authorities had heaped upon the public particularly with the children in their schools despite much adversity within the Soviet system Gorokhova was able to advance to a fluency in English She became thoroughly conversant about many noted Russian authors such as Turgenev whom she uoted freuently also Pushkin and Dostoyevsky With her sparkling intelligence she had learned well the art of unuestioning obedience and was talented in the art of deception when needed perhaps I do know Perhaps it s part of the same old Witch, Cat, and Cobb game vranyo Theame we all play my mother my sister my teachers at school my friend Tanya The rules are simple they lie to us we know they re lying they know we know they re lying but keep lying anyway and we keep pretending to believe themThroughout this memoirone travels with Gorokhova through many intriguing and naturally beautiful parts of the country She has clearly illuminated the ostentatious magnificence of StPetersburg which of course was Leningrad when she lived there One can picture the Quinn (Wyoming Sky, grandeur of the buildings and the artwork which were covered over by the authorities for use as offices Every where one wouldo there were lines lines for food lines for toilet paper lines that formed for bewildering items about which people did not knowMinor concerns that I have relate to Gorokhova s haste in the conclusion of her narration She had related her years from early childhood through her teens and early twenties keeping the reader current with her activities Yet she finally embarked to the US and left the reader with a few short pages telling of her life now While reading her book I had begun to feel a semblance of closeness with this Elena I yearned to know of her reactions to this country upon arrival and with many new experiencesI thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and have continued to consider whether I wish to rate this at 5 stars NO SPOILERSMy final opinion is that this was a deeply honest and humorous autibiograohy It extremely well depicts life behind the Iron Curtain during the 70s and 80s The crooked truth the need to hide your true thoughts the need to pretend were fundamental to life in Russia at this time I had a hard time choosing 4 or 5 stars but have chosen 4 While I sat there rading I most often was thoroughly enjoying myself but sometimes I felt it needed some editing Some descriptions were excessive Occasionally you felt you were wading through words I must add that I highly admire the author and what she did with her life She honestly depicted her feelings on many subjects that are common to all people irregardless of their nationality particularly her relationship with her motherThrough page 240The you read the better it The Princes Bride gets You comen to know the author You know her idiosyncracies What is amazing is that the author comes alive a real person with a specific identity and you see how she matures and uestions life around her In the process you learn about Russian life and culture during the 60s and 70s She uestions everything That is who she is As a child as a teenager and as an adult She is always uestioning but her uestions change Some of her uestions reveal Russian culture and other uestions are those that trouble all individuals not just Russians And there are some central uestions that trouble her as a child a teenager and as an adult There is a uality to Russian life that sticks out It is the need to pretend to twist truth and to close your eyes or look away I traveled by car not a bus load of tourists but just my family from Sweden all the way to Moscow in 1973 I recognize and understand better that which I saw and experienced This book is excellent both as an autobiography and as alimpse into life behind the Iron Curtain and it is so humorously written Through page 147 I feel that I am A Cinderella Christmas Carol (Suddenly Cinderella, gypping you if I am too lazy to uote part of the text How can you experience the style of writing without tasting it The following is from page 78Masha Mironova is the onlyirl I know who wears nylon tights The rest of us put on vest like lifchiks underbodies that sprout elastic suspenders with rubber clips and pull on ribbed cotton stockings that twist around our legs like snakesMasha is uniue in other ways too Of all my friends her mother is the only one who wears high heels Every morning she clicks across the yard on her way to work a tailored skirt teased hair red lipstick She teaches college English the word English sounds majestic and alien In my family no one speaks a foreign language especially one as foreign as English My mother knows the names of all the body parts in Latin but Latin isn t exotic it s ancient and dead My sister studied French at her Moscow drama school but French is so ingrained in Russian history tha. Soviet Union of the 1960s such a passion verges on the subversive Elena's home is no longer the majestic Russia of literature or the tsars Instead it is a nation humiliated by its first faltering steps after World War II putting up appearances for the sake of its regime and fighting to retain its pride In this deeply affecting memoir Elena re creates the world that both oppressed and inspired her She recounts stories passed down.

Elena Gorokhova õ 3 review

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