When Memories Remain

Sequel to Where Children Run (Pischke Twins Book 2)

Non-Fiction - Biography
490 Pages
Reviewed on 05/09/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Karen Emilson makes a powerful and succinct note to clarify the raison d’être of When Memories Remain: Sequel to Where Children Run, a statement that gives the reader perspective with regard to the story. Readers are introduced to twins David and Dennis Pischke, who having endured a harrowing experience of abuse in childhood now mature into responsible and law-abiding citizens. While still dealing with the painful memories of their past, they are faced with a new challenge — their names are associated with dishonesty and murder. Are they really what they claim they are — the victims? And have they truly walked away from the memories of their childhood? This book holds surprising answers for readers.

This memoir is a deeply moving story and it explores how damaging child abuse can be, even in adult life. The story begins with a police interrogation, a polygraph test to establish their sense of honesty and involvement in a murder case. Although this is a memoir, it reads so beautifully the reader will feel as though they are reading a work of fiction. The dialogues are very natural and the emotional aspect of the story is so strong that the connection between readers and the characters becomes very natural. Karen Emilson has a unique way of telling a story and she allows the twins’ desire to clear their names to come across beautifully in the writing. I enjoyed the prose and the impassioned nature of the narrative. The pathos is conveyed with style and it hits the reader in the very core of their humanity. When Memories Remain: Sequel to Where Children Run is a memoir with deep psychological and emotional depth, a compelling story in the hands of a master storyteller.

Lesley Jones

When Memories Remain by Karen Emilson is the touching true story of David Pischke trying to clear his name, whilst reflecting on events in their past. The story begins with David being questioned for the murder of Mike Kalaza. As he tries to prove his innocence, he reflects on events in his life and the brutal abuse he and his twin, Dennis, endured at the hands of their stepfather, Domko. Without food and enduring constant beatings, David and Dennis survived on their wits, and it was this that led them to prosper in adult life. We follow the twins as they deal with leaving their childhood farm, and the struggle to find work and build relationships. The family is drawn together after a tragic death, and Domko still tries to hold the family to ransom with fear. A poignant story of succeeding when everyone is against you.

Although this is the second book following the life of the Pischke twins, you do not need to read the first to grasp the story. The author has a great ability to bring each character to life. They are described with such rich detail that I was engaged from the first chapter. The scenes throughout were excellently written and transported you into the world of the Pischke twins. The dialogue was believable and unique to each character. Domko was an absolute tyrant and the scenes of abuse were very emotional for me. The sub-plots were just as engaging for me. The author has clearly done an amazing amount of research, as this story is not just a description of events but the emotions felt by the people involved. Every one of my senses has been touched in reading this book. I would definitely read more from this author, especially the prequel to this story. The photographs were an excellent addition to the book.

Gisela Dixon

When Memories Remain: Sequel to Where Children Run (Pischke Twins Book 2) by Karen Emilson is the continuation of the story of the Pischke brothers. In When Memories Remain, we get some insight and glimpses into David and Dennis Pischke’s life after they left the farm and once they grew into their teenage years and adulthood. Readers may already be familiar with the story of this family where the Pischke siblings were physically abused and neglected, mainly by their step-father Domko who entered their lives when they were children. They eventually fled from the abuse and ran away, but their troubles didn’t end there. Questioned by the police and even implicated in a murder, they sought to prove their innocence. This story is told partly from the perspective of David’s experience with the police force and polygraph test, while also mapping out the journey of their teenage and adult years after they left their home.

When Memories Remain: Sequel to Where Children Run (Pischke Twins Book 2) by Karen Emilson is a wonderful read and kept me engrossed until the end! In spite of horrific abuse including physical beatings and starvation, both the brothers coped well and at least prevented the cycle of abuse from carrying on for generations. I am also very glad that they got to tell their story, which encourages other people who may be or have been in similar situations. I also loved seeing the photographs included in the book, which really make the events feel more real and raw. This is a great read and the courage of the two brothers is inspiring.