What a powerful story of courage and overcoming. Now, let me take out the where and the when's of this storyline and focus on the main characters of this book, not all families have a functional dynamic.
Yes, there is rape, abuse and many atrocities that happen within this story, but being a childhood sex abuse and trauma survivor myself, I could relate. The author gives good in-depth insights as to how a child is raised from so much pain and despair, (hints that some of what happens maybe her life experiences) is written with much conviction and detail. Maybe less graphic, as I know this book will be part of a series of this little girl to woman. I look more at the writing style, narratives, and how the reads and flows.
That, the author did an exceptional job. Here book reminds me of another I read a few years back titled; 'The Chocolate Bar' about another woman's story of a little girl to adulthood and The German War. She gave us insights of being a German, not a Jewish character, and shows the impact and ravishes of The Nazi occupation and war.
T.R. has done the same with this fantastic read. You will cry and feel much empathy with this book as you read, but hidden within this story is power and triumph! I look forward to the next book.
I read this memoir in little over 24 hours which is a true sign I was glued and captivated by this true story. Her mother suddenly dies when she is the tender age of five. This leaves the little girl grief stricken and traumatised for many years to come. She gets passed around family members and runs away after being molested by her uncle. This leads to the now fifteen-year-old being picked up by the Nazis (Gestapo) and tortured mercilessly and left for dead. Thrown on a pile of corpses to be burnt, only to be miraculously rescued. I will not continue further with the story as to spoil it for others but you now understand why the book is so compelling. I have given the book 5 stars for the sheer gripping nature of the story. There is a lot of dialogue in the book which could have been balanced by more narrative to explain the settings as I did get a bit lost at times. A powerful story which I recommend. What a life and unbelievable that the author has lived to tell her tale.
Most lives cannot be said to be extraordinary - and, indeed, T.R. Robinson did not consider her life to be such until she began learning about the lives of others and realized that in the bigger world picture, her life is, indeed, extraordinary.
Thus, Tears of Innocence is as much about this unusual life and her survival and blossoming as it is about her encounters in the world, and is created as the first part of a projected three-book autobiographical trilogy.
The first thing to know about Tears of Innocence is that it isn't just about the author's world, but that of her ancestors as well. As the last surviving member of her branch of her family, there was nobody else to capture these memories and histories - and so she does so here, in an introduction that begins with a child abandoned in the snow and a daughter sent away from home when her mother falls ill.
At the age of five, the author's life ends. At that age she moves from a warm, loving home to uncertain circumstances, a 'found' baby brother is adopted out, never to be seen again, and because in her time there was no understanding that children held a place in the grieving process, she was pushed aside, ignored, and left to come to her own terms with her mother's death.
But that's only the beginning of her story - and the tip of the emotional iceberg, as she moves from her mother's death to a new life.
While this autobiography is steeped in family relationships, it's also about war, politics, and daily lives changed by struggle. Perhaps this is one of the facets that leads Tears of Innocence to be so striking: the juxtaposition of inner strife with equally-challenging wider world changes: "We have difficulty finding sufficient food. Bread used to be our staple diet but the German habit of flooding a country with currency means a loaf now costs thousands. They’ve also commandeered virtually every other product. The soup you’ve just enjoyed was made from a combination of potato peelings, discarded by the enemy, and stinging nettles.”
It should be noted that some editing would contribute to smoother reading of this narrative, as minor grammatical errors pepper the story line ("I could’ve easily run into my captors arms."). That said, the narrative flows relatively smoothly and involves readers in the growing horrors of Nazi occupation, inhuman actions, and observations the author will never forget.
And now, neither will the reader.
Tears of Innocence is the perfect example of an autobiography that connects personal strife to wider world events. It's written with passion, it's presented with a 'you are there' feel, and it offers not just one life-changing experience, but a series of slings and arrows that the author survives.
The ongoing violence and struggles of her life seem nonstop at times, and serve to illustrate not only her own survival tactics and ability to adjust to adversity, but the changes society has experienced in relation to perceiving and understanding the nature of violence both at home and in communities: "You’ve a lot of bruises.” “Oh I keep falling or missing my step and walking into doors. Must be my pregnant state.” I don’t think they believe me. But what can they do? My husband has full rights over me. Society had been very different then."
It covers the author's childhood and first part of her adult life, and it actually offers hope, as she was ultimately able to gain freedom from the disparate negative forces and patterns of her world. The battles she fights, the constant threats to her life, and the family interactions against the backdrop of war are personal and vivid, and will appeal to any who look to accounts of strength and survival against all odds.
TR Robinson’s story Tears of Innocence begins before the Second World War. Her happy and innocent childhood is shattered following the death of her mother. To add further to her trauma she is kept in ignorance of the event and shunned by family members who believed a child did not need, or could not understand sufficiently, to grieve; as was customary at the time.
Sadly this is only the beginning of her traumatic and troubled life. The author does not reveal her home country but it was invaded by German troops during WWII. In a desperate need to escape abuse she becomes separated from those she loves and trusts and lives on the streets or in terror of being abused yet again.
Her young life is a roundabout of finding happiness then being hurt or lost, over and over again.
After marrying an English naval officer she moves with him to England. His family adore her and she them. The welcome she receives fills the reader full of hope for her future happiness. It is not to be.
Although her in-laws suspect she is being abused by her husband it was not appropriate, in post war Britain to interfere between a husband and wife
The intertwining of Robinson’s life story with the background of history is undeniably gripping reading.
There are two points the author makes in her Preface that the reader should note. The spelling is British English and her thoughts and emotions are in italics.
My first thought when I read she had included her emotions in italics was “this is going to be annoying” It was anything but. I would not recommend this method for most authors. Robinson is a skilled writer and this way of clarifying how she was feeling at that moment of time draws the reader in; it felt like I was by her side all the way but powerless to help and support her.
I usually make notes when reading a book for review. It must be an indication of how engrossed I was when I barely made a note or highlighted sections.
This is an inspirational story that I highly recommend and look forward hearing that the author has released the second part of her trilogy.
My rating 4*