Author: Irene Even
Publication Date: September 11, 2014
A Life of the Twentieth Century is the story of Aya, who lived through the loss of her parents before the age of 3. At the age of twelve she was sent to a boarding school in Budapest, that closed after one year, because the Nazi army marched into the city.
Aya was left totally alone to face the Nazi occupation, and to experience all the horrors of the war. She faced many life threatening situations, such as prison, bombardment or even the possibility of being executed on the spot, without really comprehending the gravity of it all.
The end of the war was supposed to mean liberation, the return of hope and freedom for most people, however it didn’t happen for Aya, who was part of a youth group on her way to Palestine. The destination of this youth group was to reach Italy and the Jewish Brigade. They crossed the Alps on foot from Austria to reach Italy.
As they reached their destination Aya met a soldier from the Jewish Brigade, who was supposed to be her Hero, her Saviour, but turned out to be the devil incarnate. From day one, this soldier of the Jewish brigade took control of Aya’s life when she was only 15 years old.
After divorce, destitute and once again alone, she had no direction and almost no hope, when from deep inside her a small voice said; go back to school. It took all her courage to apply to university, where she was accepted and after 5 year was granted a B.A. and a Diploma of Teaching. She spent the rest of her life teaching, and as she contemplated her life she said to herself that if she had had all the choices in the world, she would have chosen teaching.
Where to buy the book
I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.
Although A Life in the Twentieth Century is written like fiction and uses fictional names, it is actually the memoir of the author. Aya’s life started out difficult and it seemed that it would stay that way. From being an outcast as a child, to hiding from the Nazis, to an abusive husband, she endured more than one person should have to in one lifetime.
I admire Aya’s strength and perseverance. She was able to deal with whatever came her way. I can’t believe that she was able to endure life with her husband, Mort, for so many years.
I think it’s great that Aya followed her dream and that she was able to eventually do what she loved for her career. Her relationship with her children, though, breaks my heart. All she did for them and all the love she has for them…I hope they read her memoir and that it opens their eyes.
Irene’s writing flows well but there were times that the story got slow. Some things were also repeated one or more times. Although the book was a little longer than it needed to be, I still think this is a good read, especially for anyone who likes autobiographies.
About the Author
Irene Even was born in Hungary. As a child she lived through the Second World War, using false papers to survive. After the war, she immigrated to Palestine, lived in a Kibbutz, then later married and immigrated to Canada with her family. She returned to Israel to teach English and remained there for twenty-two years. Having written her memoir, A Life of the Twentieth Century, she now lives in retirement in Montreal.
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