A Worthy Life

Based on a True Story (New Jewish Fiction)

Fiction - Cultural
314 Pages
Reviewed on 01/26/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

A Worthy Life by Dahlia Moore is fiction based on a true story. Bina, now in her 80s, is a Holocaust survivor. She survived one of the worst horrors in the history of humankind. A Jew who migrated to America at age 11, her survival of the horrific trauma of her early years was a miracle. Now a retired university professor, she hides her scars. But recovery came at a price, and telling her story to her granddaughter, Abigail, isn’t easy. As Bina prepares to move from her family home to a seniors’ community, she finds an old diary in which she recorded her flight from the Nazis, life in a ghetto, and her escape from a concentration camp. Now, Abigail wants to know her grandmother’s story, and as Bina reads and translates, Abigail struggles to find ways to help her grandmother heal her scars. Eventually, two miracles bring two families and three generations together in a moving reunion.

In A Worthy Life, Dahlia Moore dives into the subconscious of a trauma survivor to show us the long-term emotional impact and the ongoing struggle to deal with the memories. She also reveals, in a subplot, the emotional struggle of a mother whose relationship with her daughter is fractured. We see the inner workings of the human mind and the effect of generational trauma. For those who have limited knowledge of the Holocaust, this story will both shock and inspire; contrasting unimaginable horror with the astonishing strength and survival instincts that carried many people through it and enabled them to live worthy lives. Dahlia Moore weaves a lovely family saga and romance overlaid on a gut-wrenching story of human cruelty and suffering. The author writes beautifully. She clearly has sound knowledge of history, and takes us into the protagonist’s world and her mind, bringing Bina’s experiences to life. Moore delivers a deeply satisfying story; one that will stay with you long after you close the book.