How to Make a Life is an enthralling saga of a family both brought together and divided by the mental illness of one member.
Spanning four generations of the Amdur/Weissman family, the story is narrated through different members of the family over the years, highlighting their ever changing relationships with each other.
How to Make a Life begins with Ida fleeing a massacre on their land in Ukraine and taking her two surviving children to America to start a new life safe from persecution. Life is tough and there is more tragedy in store but Ida and daughter Bessie know to survive they must always look ahead.
How to Make a Life spans 106 years and to squeeze this amount into one book it quite often skips large spans of time, so you might suddenly find out a character’s husband had died some time ago and there was no previous mention. This made for a lot of telling the story and I would have liked the story to be longer to include all these momentous events in detail.
How to Make a Life is a fast-moving story filled with emotion and plenty of family drama. I became totally invested in all the characters lives and their hopes, fears and dreams.
Florence Reiss Kraut includes many themes in this generational drama including unplanned pregnancies, mental illness, unrequited love, loss, guilt, family responsibility, holding onto your faith and how the choices we make can have a ripple affect through the generations.
About the author