Annie's Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg
It is difficult to do justice to Steve Luxenberg’s remarkable and multidimensional book Annie’s Ghosts.
Like a lot of us, Luxenberg watched one of his parents deteriorate. His father died fairly early of heart problems,but his mother, Beth, who was a strong and influential character,lived into her 80’s.
When she died her children (and step-children) discovered that she had not been what she had always appeared to be. Her name wasn’t Beth, for starters, but there was an even bigger secret that she had kept from her children.
Luxenberg was intrigued, but also troubled. Despite some serious misgivings, he decided to try to find out more.
The deeper he went the deeper he got.
Not only did he discover quite a bit about his mother’s secret, he also discovered quite a lot about the world in which she grew up. And on the way he discovered more than a little about himself and the world in which he grew up.
This is a fascinating book. It is also a very brave book, as the author periodically evaluates not just his progress, but also his motivation. It is full of interesting characters, from the past and in the present, and it assiduously skirts the trap of imposing the sensibilities of the present upon the events and frameworks of the past.
Luxenberg is a most accomplished journalist, and his story just keeps coming at you and makes you re-examine the world in which you grew up, and the world you live in right now.
Sometimes the differences are more wished than realized.
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