My First Book Review

Writing a book, story or a poem is an addictive process because it transports me into a relaxed, spiritual and meditative world of focused contemplation. When completed, I like a child, seek conformation of the work as an extension of my needy self in search of approval. An interesting and exciting prospect but one tinged with fear. Is it good enough? Am I good enough? Will I expose myself to ridicule? Will I be shunned by my comrades who can now see my imperfect self more clearly.

I live in a condominium in Florida. A life style that’s like being part of a huge extended family, with people who live together and see each other every day. I wrote the now published book, “The Need To Be Needed,” as a memoir with fifty true short stories and matching poetic reflections drawn from every part of my life. As such I’ve presented my imperfect self to friends and relatives as well as to this large group of condo prodigy, as raw meat to a potentially carnivores group of detractors. And I live in fear of being found out.

What do I mean? I really don’t know it’s just a feeling. Am I brave as some contend or just narcissistic?

Then Lily happened. Lily the energetic elderly condo kindred who at fifteen survived thee interactions with Josef Mengele the Auschwitz doctor of death and the extermination of her entire family. I’d seen Lily around the east condo pool and on occasion and talked to her about her walking problem and the botched hip replacement. After my book was published Lily was one of the first to buy it and as I found out later, was one of the first to read it.

Since it was the geographical center of the clubhouse pool area, Lily would likely use one of the tall comfortable chairs next to the clubhouse facing the ocean as her watching post. As I passed with my wife and another couple Lily called me over and as I came close, grabbed my arm and with a powerful pull brought me close in tight to her body while simultaneously kissing me robustly on the lips. Before I could register my shock she proclaimed her love for my book which she exclaimed was written by a real mensch (a Yiddish word that means a very good person). A person she went on to say, that reminded her about the extraordinary man, also a holocaust survivor, who she lived with for over fifty happy years. My profound awareness of Lily’s powerful spirit, a spirit capable maintaining her positive energy and protecting her from a permanently scarred personality, coupled with the suddenness and tenderness of the encounter overwhelmed me. My tears and the crescendo of sobs that followed needed private release and I was propelled to find solitude away from my wife and friends. Lily and I did later speak more objectively about the book but the emotional interaction I experienced with her was my first real review. An assessment of my work and myself coming from a brave insightful woman, who overcame the hazards and perils of the hell that was her early life. A affirmative evaluation, hard for me to to accept, but one I will forever be most proud.