The Seven Year Dress

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
338 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2016
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Author Biography

Paulette Mahurin, an award-winning author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs--Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. Her and her husband have been involved in dog rescue for the past 28 years. All profits from her book are going to the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County,CA., Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center.

VC STAR Sept. 9, 2012 Sunday Life Section:


    Book Review

Reviewed by Raanan Geberer for Readers' Favorite

The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin tells of the rise of Nazism in Germany and the concentration camps, as related by aged survivor Paulette Mahurin to a young nursing student who rents a room in her apartment. There have been numerous holocaust memoirs, but most deal with the Jews of Eastern Europe, while this one focuses on Germany itself. Through Helen’s eyes, we see the progression of anti-Semitism throughout the 1930s, from harassment of Jewish businesses to the prohibition against Jews working in certain professions, from racial laws prohibiting marriage or sexual relationships between Jews and non-Jews to the seizure of radios and firearms from Jews. Like many older Jews, Helen’s father takes a “wait-and-see” attitude toward Nazism, but the young Helen almost immediately sees Nazism for what it is. After the violence of Kristallnacht, a non-Jewish friend secretly offers Helen and her brother, Ben, a hiding place in the basement of an old farmhouse, but their troubles have just begun.

Paulette Mahurin’s The Seven Year Dress is well written — as a journalism graduate, I was pleased to see that she uses short paragraphs, a minimum of adjectives and adverbs, and so on. It doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, such as Helen's and Ben’s separate sexual fantasies while they are hiding in the basement. Perhaps more than in most such memoirs, you can vividly feel the tragedy of the holocaust; Helen is the only one of four siblings who survives the war. It’s also inspirational how Helen still clings to humanity, as witnessed when the non-Jewish friend (who joins the SS, but mainly as a “cover”), brings Helen some of her favorite books that he has salvaged from their family home (all of them American novels, by the way). All in all, I heartily recommend The Seven Year Dress. And what of the dress itself? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Sandy Holeman

The review above is so well written, and is definitely on the mark. I read this book and felt the sane way. I wish my review had been as erudite.
Ms. Mahurin's book allowed me to connect with the main character in such a personal way that I felt like I was going through the experience with her. it added a new perspective for me on the holocaust.