[Book Review] Asylum: A Memoir of Family Secrets by Judy Bolton-Fasman

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By Judy Bolton-Fasman

Judy Bolton-Fasman’s memoir details her investigation into her family’s past, in an effort to uncover answers to her long-held questions about her parents, including their unlikely union. Separated by a seventeen year age gap, Bolton-Fasman’s father, an Ashkenazi, was 40-years-old when he married his Spanish and Ladino speaking, Sephardic 24-year-old bride. After her father instructs her to destroy his old records, Bolton-Fasman spends decades tracing her family lineage in an effort to discover her past.

Bolton-Fasman paints a captivating picture of growing up in a household where silence and secrets were the norm. She gives an in-depth discussion of the paradox of her parents’ union, given their age difference and the differences in their cultures. While both are Jewish, their backgrounds created clashes and conflicts on a regular basis.

I appreciated Bolton-Fasman’s dedication to uncovering her family’s based and need for truth in order to better understand herself. Despite the challenges her parents’ conflicts created in her childhood, Bolton-Fasman’s portrays them with empathy and sensitivity. This well-written memoir is both a quest for understanding an individual spiritual identity and relatable tale of the family detective.

I’d like to thank the author for the free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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