Book Review: The Lucky One

By: Sherry V. Ostroff

In order to do this story justice, I’m going to use the summary from the back cover to avoid any errors in the details:

Ita was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. The place was the former Pale of Settlement which was a large swath of land in western Russia where Jews were forced to live for centuries. The year was 1918 and Russia was in the midst of two revolutions. The first occurred with the abdication of the last tsar of Russia culminating in his execution. The second was the bloody civil war that ensued for control of the country. Ita was caught in the middle during this time of great political and social upheaval. Wave after wave of murderous anti-Jewish riots, or pogroms, descended upon Jewish shtetls, and the only chance for her survival was to escape. Escape was not easy. In fact, it could be deadly. In Ita’s own words, along with her daughter’s (Sherry V. Ostroff) historical and cultural background information, she describes her privileged life in Russia, the bloody pogroms, and her harrowing escape. Ita faces each roadblock with resolve, including a new country that doesn’t want her, and proves why she is, indeed, the lucky one.

This is the second work I’ve read by Sherry V. Ostroff and want an incredible story of overcoming incredibly difficult odds. Sherry’s mother, Ita, tells her story of growing up in very dangerous circumstances in Russia where the political climate was incredibly unfriendly to the Jewish population, to say the least. She and her family were very fortunate to be able to escape to Romania for a time and ultimately to the United States. Interspersed between her mother’s memories, Ostroff provides a very detailed history of the time her mother was living in. It’s an interesting contrast to read Ita’s story of her understanding of the world around her, through the eyes of an innocent young child versus the reality of the time. Stories like Ita’s are so important and need to be told. I applaud Ostroff for preserver her mother’s legacy in this work.

Never again.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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