Summary (from the publisher): Leora, a juvenile court judge, wife, mother, and daughter, is caught in the routine of work, taking care of her family and aging parents. But she’s also a second-generation Holocaustsurvivor. It’s an identity she didn’t understand was hers until she accidentally discovered a secret file of handwritten notes addressed to her father. A further discovery of a seemingly random WWII postcard in a thrift store sets her on a collision course with the past in this lyrical memoir about secrets hidden within secrets, both present-day and buried deep within wartime Europe.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Over the past year or so, I’ve become a growing memoir reader. Having always been interested in learning about the Holocaust (I minored in Holocaust Studies in college & will now be teaching about the Holocaust as a huge part of my school’s ELA curriculum), I was instantly attracted to Leora Krygier’s new memoir, Do Not Disclose. Leora Krygier is a second-generation Holocaust survivor. I should perhaps should blame myself for misreading, but I went into Do Not Disclose thinking that the book would follow Leora Krygier diving into her father’s experience as a Holocaust survivor based on the synopsis. Instead, the book mostly follows Leora’s quest to connect with and figure out the story behind a WWII-era postcard written by a British solider. The book transitions between Leora’s investigation behind the soldier, A.T. Maynard, and personal anecdotes from her childhood leading up to her adulthood and a surprising family secret. That being said, Leora knows that her father is a Holocaust survivor, but when it comes to her family and their experience, the book more so focuses on the direction of their lives after the Holocaust.
I really enjoyed learning about Leora’s family, specifically her parents’ immigration stories to Israel during the WWII era and then to the United States, her father’s Holocaust experience, and the affair. I wish the book focused more on Leora’s own family life – like Leora’s daughter and as Leora recognizes herself, it was easier for Leora to focus on the British solider’s story than her family’s own past and trauma. I found myself sometimes confused with Leora ‘connecting the dots’ in A.T. Maynard’s story, losing track of people & places key to that part of the story.
The book is a very fast read, and can be easily read in one siting. As I’ve learned from studying the Holocaust, it can be extremely difficult for survivors to open up about their experience, even demonstrated by Leora’s encounters with her father and his actions after the Holocaust, but I wanted more about his story and perhaps for Leora to write more about how her father’s experience affected his decisions and their family life. However, through Leora Krygier’s writing, it is clear, especially near the end of the book, that going through her family’s past was really difficult for Leora and she still struggles to understand the decisions made.
I recommend Do No Disclose if you are a fan of books following hidden stories from the World War II era. The book provides an interesting portrait of the aftereffects & trauma of the Holocaust on Leora’s family.
Do Not Disclose comes out on August 24th, 2021.
This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts & opinions.
What are some of your favorite memoirs? What books have you enjoyed about the Holocaust and WWII? Is Do Not Disclose on your TBR? Share in the comments!