This memoir tells about life in the Soviet Union during the Communist era. Tina Grimberg grew up in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, in a tiny flat with her parents and her older sister. She explains that, for over 70 years the world was divided into two parts, East and West, or the Communist Bloc and the Free World. This book tells about her life behind the Iron Curtain. After the fall of the Czar, during the Communist Revolution in 1917, the Communist took over and forbade all religion. Tina and her family were Jewish, but they were not allowed to practice their religion, even speaking Yiddish outside of the home meant trouble. Although the Iron Curtain is gone, her memories of that time remain. In the West everyone assumed that communism was a great evil. Grimberg reports that there were certainly aspects that were bad, evil even, but it wasn’t all gray and dreary. For small children, it was a stimulating place with love of family strong, along with the endless lineups in the cold. It also meant trying to escape the all-seeing eyes, whether they belonged to the old ladies in their babushkas who guarded every courtyard, or to the Soviet state that monitored every step its citizens took. In the 1970’s the Soviet Union, often referred to as Russia, agreed to allow certain “undesirables” (Jews and some minorities) to leave. Tina, then 15 years old, and her family were sponsored by kind strangers in Indiana, who helped the family settle in the United States. This subject of life behind the Iron Curtain is rarely told for children and the book is highly recommended. For ages 8 – 12 years.
Barbara Silverman had an M.L.S. from Texas Woman’s University. She worked as a children’s librarian at the Corpus Christi Public Libraries and at the Corpus Christi ISD before retiring. She worked as a volunteer at the Astor Judaic Library of the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla, CA. Sadly, Barbara passed away is 2012.