Audie Award Winner, Biography and Memoir, 2013
Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.
©1999 Sara Tuvel Bernstein (P)2011 Tantor
"There are many recent accounts of Holocaust victims, but this work stands alone as a testimony to personal strength and an independent spirit." (Library Journal)
An incredible story of a survivor both of the holocaust and post-war Germany. And one of the most moving depictions of how the events unfolded that convinced the Jewish people to pack their valuables peacefully and surrender. There is a point in the book when Sara and her sisters dig in the dirt for tiny grass roots to eat and another where they risk their lives to steal a radish. And, you feel a small glimpse of what it must be like to experience true hunger.... I cried. I was outraged and ultimately uplifted by this one woman's courage to want to live and to do her work.
My grandfather had a premonition and fled Germany before the war. My mother was ten when they emigrated to the United States. Our family lost a lot of family and friends.
When I listened to this memoir Wanda McCaddon's voice brought back memories of my grandmother's voice. My grandmother taught me to sew.
This is a truly riveting story of one woman and her family's survival during the Hitler regime. I've read a lot about the war. I have to keep reading about it. It's part of the fabric of my people. This history must be kept alive.
I am a seamstress and sewed the whole time I listened to this audiobook. My latest quilt got wet from all the tears I shed listening to Sara Turvel's story. I'm so glad she had her story finally published.
I've just gotten hooked on audio book this last year & I love them. Now I can "read" a book & do other things like walk or hobbies.
yes, because the narrator was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and she could read it better to me than I could ever read it to myself!
I guess it would be the end of the war right before the rescue
her great voice and enthusiasm and expression
she gives the main character a personality and spunk
This book was published after the author died and I just wish she knew how many peoples lives she has touched with her writing. She had so much hope and endurance and positive attitude in the middle of a nightmare. She also went on and didn't dwell on her nightmare. She actually had a good life afterwards.
Yes. It is the story of an unassuming young woman who, despite all the odds, survived one of the deadliest camps in Germany. It is written in such a wayt that you are amazed at her endurance, but she is portrayed as a human, not a heroine.
Saran, Joseph, Ellen and Esther
She had a slight eastern European accent. I know she is British, but her narration is understated and frank without being flat. I did not like her "American" accent in the end of the book, but other than that it was a great read.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
The holocaust period certainly brought out the very worst in very many people. However, it also brought out the very best in others, Seren Tuval, in particular. What made this story so listenable and wonderful was Seren's personality. She exhibited such strength, such compassion, such intelligence, and such hope. There was never any question in her mind that she might not survive. There was never a moment that she felt sorry for herself. Her optimism and strength is something for us all to emulate or aspire toward.
The narrator is simply amazing and actually became Seren in my mind. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job of a narration. She nailed it perfectly.
This is a very intense story. Yet, you can come away from it with a good feeling. I am not sure how that can be, but it is true. Don't be afraid to read another holocaust story. This one is very special. For myself, I will remember this book for a long time. I am so glad I got to know Seren's story!
Wanda McCaddon. I agree with other readers. This is the best account of life in the camps I have read. Whether it was the fact that it was from a female perspective or that love features so heavily in Sara's tale, I don't know whether it would have touched me quite as much if I had read it or it'd had another narrator. When ever I started listening, I became lost in the story, and I find that happens with all of Wanda's narrations.
The behaviour of the Auschwitz survivors in the hospital after liberation. It brought home how ferociously these human beings had had to fight for their own survival. How long did it take for them to trust other human beings again?
Yes. The usual fabulousness.
Not laugh nor cry but certainly sadness and relief.
I started listening again as soon as I'd finished it.
I enjoyed this book very much. The story kept you wanting to know more and the characters very interesting. The time in history - I enjoyed. The raw emotions captivating.
Well written and interesting story about WWII in Yugoslavia and Hungry. At times narrator was hard to understand ( I listen in the car)
Hi there! My name is Jen! One of my New Years Resolutions is to read more! I'll try to review all I can!
It's hard to love a story about the holocaust. So much stress and depression the reader has to endure, one has only the imagination to figure out what it really must have felt like. Wth every story of this massacre i read, my love only grows for the strength that the writer had to of had to get through it. In that sense, i love how this book reminded me of tye things that matter in life, and how it reminded me that my probelems are mere ant hills compaired to those that had to live years like this.
My favorite character, of course, is sara. She may have been tried to the very end, but she didn't loose who she was; keeping her personality and morals strong until the very end, not afraid to atand up for the truth in what she believed, and didn't succumb to what the nazi's wanted her to become.
I loved her flashbacks to her child hood. The moments in life she could remember to keep her going.
I had my happy moments and sad momeits throughout the book, but the strongest was that mokent when it ended and i was reminded of all the little good things in ky life. These stories never fail to make me count my blessings, no matter how smll.
Highly recomended! The narriation is great, althoufh sometimes hard to decipher between the haracters, her accents made the story more believeabl and
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
Not as a true story. This story is too contrived. Overall it's a good emotionally charged read. I just don't believe it as an actual account. I can't find anything about Sara Tuvel Bernstein except as it refers to this book.
Just call it what it is - FICTION! I don't doubt that Ms. Bernstein suffered some oppression at the hands of the Nazi's. I just don't believe that she was the only survivor among millions to have the kind of resolve - and luck - that she claims in this book.
Wanda McCaddon is masterful as always.
Only if you think of it as either fiction or a historical account in which the author has taken considerable literary license. The story IS moving and inspiring - it's just not believable.
I've read all of the reviews both here and on Amazon.com. Only one other reviewer feels like I do. I know I'm going to take a lot of flack for this, but I wish someone had given me a less emotional review of this book. I'm black and I'm used to Jewish friends claiming to "understand the pain of slavery". Well, no! "Your blues ain't like my blues"! But I always read books about Holocaust survivors out of respect for THEIR plight. However, there was something just not right about this account. Sara seemed to always have the answer or solution to some really horrific situations while her reaction to the deaths of her family members, one by one, was like "Ho hum!" I just didn't believe that one person in millions had the survivor instincts that this writer claimed to possess. It's easy to say you've done this and that when there's no one to refute your assertions.
The story is well-written and well narrated. But when you "pull the seams apart", it just doesn't fit. There's no way to fact-check the claims of the author. Plus, she was only in that concentration camp for a few months right before the war ended. I found her account of her early life and the years leading up to her so-called "arrest" much more interesting. Living like a hunted animal with no country to call "home" had to be awful. It's when she gets to the camp and on the trains that the story falls apart. Who can go WEEKS without water while doing back-breaking work? Or eight days without food or water packed into a boxcar like sardines? One minute everyone is freezing to death inside the boxcar, then in the same week, the train is sweltering from the weather outside. While the first 75% of the book tells an interesting account, the last becomes overly dramatic and predictable. And, again, I found Sara's total apathy towards the death of her family and camp friends bordering on sociopathic. Why? Because nobody died like she claims.
Notice that Sara is the only person who repeatedly manages to "save the day" by stealing, smuggling, or hiding enough food for her companions. Under those severe and harrowing circumstances, I know I wouldn't take up with a bunch of losers who never bring anything to the table to help in the survival of the group. When Sara is given a lice-ridden coat in the camp-wide clothing swap, she somehow gets one full of paper money hidden in the lining! And she just happened to have squirreled away a needle and thread in the tightly secured camp so she can rip up the lining to get the money, then sew it back up expertly. Really? As if all of those SS guards were too stupid to notice that the already thin garment just might be a little heavy or bulky! Then she and her friends used the money for TOILET PAPER for several weeks but, again, no one in the camp, prisoners included, noticed them "Benjamins" in the crapper! You haven't wiped your butt in months and that's all you could think to do with a large amount of money? C'mon!
What I DO believe is that some opportunistic writers saw a KERNEL of a good book after meeting a Holocaust survivor, likely in her dotage. I thought this book would be a first-hand account by an actual survivor who had gone through one horrific act after another during World War II as a Jew in occupied Europe. It turned out to be a compilation of everything that could happen to several people in a "perfect storm" of terror and persecution. Kind of like "Forrest Gump Meets The Fuhrer"! There's something that just didn't pass the "smell test" for me. I almost didn't write a review because I knew others would be upset with my reaction to this book or they would say, being black, I just don't understand the plight of Jewish people. That's absolutely not true. I sympathize and empathize with the hatred endured by Jews THROUGHOUT the history of the world. How could I not when my own ancestors were oppressed, murdered, beaten, lynched, and raped for centuries as recently as the 21st century? Here, I'll just have to take the hit because I'm calling "a spade a spade" - Sara is "shoveling" it a bit deep!
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