No Time To Cry
by Vera Leinvebers

"As one disaster followed another, I had no time to stop, no time to think, no time to cry. All I could do was keep going, knowing that life itself is all that we ever have that is truly our own."

Childhood is supposed to be a time of joy and discovery, a period of hope, home, and happiness that serves as a safe and secure foundation for a person as he or she grows up. Sadly, millions of European children had that experience snatched away from them during World War II. Some never survived the terror of those years, while others, like the author, lived through it but were forever changed by their loss. Leinvebers' riveting and poignant memoir peels away the bandages of time to reveal wounds that are still healing.

Choosing to rename her brother "Lars" and herself "Lara" in an effort to create some emotional distance, the author recalls the day her older sibling arrived weak and bleeding at the door of her Latvian home on Christmas Eve. The reunion would be short-lived, though, as soldiers soon arrived to drag him away, and Lara's last memory of him was a gunshot heard not far from their house. Deprivation and death descended on the family quickly after that, and for the next year Lara saw and experienced horrors no one, especially not a child, should encounter. Eventually, she and her parents as well as other refugee families managed to make it to Denmark and safety, but not before what was left of her youthful worldview was stripped from her.

Despite her experiences, the author emerged with hope, compassion, and a belief in her fellow man. As a successful concert pianist and music teacher in Canada, she also offers snapshots of that life in most chapters before memory plunges the narrative into the past. Graphic, disturbing, yet filled with a heartbeat for humanity, this haunting memoir is not to be missed.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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