My Father's Gardens is the story of a young girl who comes of age in two languages, and on two shores, between warring parents and rules that change depending on the landscape and the proximity of her mother. Struggling to find her voice and her place in the world as a result of her frequent travels between her native Israel and the United States, she feels that she must choose a place to call home. As her scenery alternates between warm Mediterranean and snow-capped mountains, loud-mouthed Israelis and polite Americans, so do her loyalties: Is she more Israeli or American? How will she know when she has arrived? And while she chooses she is slowly transplanting bits of her father's gardens on foreign soil.
©2013 Karen Levy (P)2013 Karen Levy
My Father's Gardens is a powerful memoir.. Levy has written a constantly changing world and culture with multiple moves, and then she put them together where one world ends and the other begins..
My Father’s Gardens, by Karen Levy, is the beautifully related true story of a woman who finally comes to find her emotional and physical home. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Karen learns where her heart and home really lies, but first, she wrestles with the forces she is confronted with as she passes through the passages of life from early childhood through motherhood. She finally comes to terms with who she is, finding comfort in her own skin, in one of these lands. Her journey is compounded by the unsettling feeling of not quite fitting in as she traveled back and forth over the Northern Atlantic between these two countries. But from the beginning, she walks and escorts us through her personal landscape, her adventures, dreams, experiences as a child, into pubescence, teen, young woman and adulthood, in a way that every woman can relate to, even if they haven’t been torn between Israel, a controversial and sometimes war torn country, and the United States, one of which is her eventual safe haven.
Ms. Levy tells all of our stories, from the noisy neighbors, the interfering and overbearing mother, the day to day time marked events and mile posts that occur to accentuate and help us navigate our way through her very private landscape. Step by step in lyrical prose, Ms. Levy invites us into her world; bold, raw, naked in her introspection, we all end up wondering if it really matters which side of the ocean you grew up in, and, on some level, we realize through her tales, that we all have the same mother, friends, family, experiences. Her writing strikes chords with the incidents she relays, the feelings she expresses, and life’s discoveries she uncovers while growing up bilingually and bi-culturally. But I can’t express enough how wonderful the writing is. It is soothing, smart, comforting, poetic in the word choice and the sentence structure. There is certainly a wonderful story here, but the vehicle of words she provides us with to take us on the ride is as delicious as a warm home cooked meal on a cold wintry day.
Narrator Toni Orans’ lilting voice is like sweet honey, perfect to help guide us through this absolutely lovely poetic writing. Her narration is pleasing to the ear, honest and reassuring. Her voice drums up the comforting image of sitting fireside with your favorite blanket, hot toddy in hand, taking in the story that you just can’t get enough of. She enhances this incredibly well written, visually painted memoir with its colorful characters and details with such warmth, truth and clarity that it brings it all to life.
This critique was written for the audiobook that was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review.
Yes, I found the mother/daughter relationship interesting. I started to compare it to my relationship with my mother which made me think. Thinking is a good thing!
So many memorable moments but the one that stands out is the pregnancy debacle.
This is my first Toni Oran's performance and it was a great intro into audible book performances. I found her voice and story-telling a real asset to the experience. You need to have a special voice and delivery to make an imprint in this media and Toni's voice was just great for this story. It made it so much more personal.
We can all learn and benefit from the Impact of this mother/daughter relationship not to be ignored.
Looking forward to more of Toni's story-telling performances.
Avid reader (listener) and Audible Fan!
Fascinating, well written, and beautiful true story of a girl torn between the love of two countries~Israel and America. I enjoyed the tale but it also made me very sad. It is hard enough to grow up in one country~I cannot imagine trying to constantly juggle the two very different cultures. Ms. Levy's situation was exacerbated by the troubled marriage of her parents. Being a teenager in Tel Aviv, then a teenager in America, and a soldier in the IDF had to create unbelievable confusion of identity. A young lady wishing to trade her "see saw" life for a stable one. Expertly narrated by Toni Orans. Highly recommend.
Audiobook provided for an honest review....
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