Album of My Life
Ann Szedlecki was a Hollywood-film-loving fourteen-year-old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939. Fleeing to the Soviet Union with her brother, she spent the next six years in a remote Siberian outpost, enduring loneliness, hunger and forced labour, but also savouring moments of warmth and friendship. Tender, tragic and also engagingly funny, Ann lovingly reconstructs her pre-war childhood in Lodz and offers a compelling and complex portrait of survival in the USSR and of the diversity of survivor experiences during the Nazi genocide. The reader is drawn to young Ann’s fierce determination, humour and decency as we accompany her on her coming-of-age journey without family and living largely by her wits. Full of rich detail and poignant observation, this is a beautiful rendering of the vicissitudes of one woman’s life in relation to the large-scale historical events that helped shape its course.