By Edith Eger
‘The Choice is a gift to humanity. One of those rare and eternal stories that you don’t want to end and that leave you forever changed’ DESMOND TUTU, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
In 1944, sixteen-year-old Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. There she endured unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. Over the coming months, Edith’s bravery helped her sister to survive, and led to her bunkmates rescuing her during a death march. When their camp was finally liberated, Edith was pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.
In The Choice, Dr Edith Eger shares her experience of the Holocaust and the remarkable stories of those she has helped ever since. Today, she is an internationally acclaimed psychologist whose patients include survivors of abuse and soldiers suffering from PTSD. She explains how many of us live within a mind that has become a prison, and shows how freedom becomes possible once we confront our suffering.
This is probably the best and most inspiring memoir I have ever read. I literally could not put it down and have given it a 5* rating. This book isn’t just about the horrific things that happened to Edith and her family in Auschwitz, it is so much more than that! The book follows Edith as a child in Auschwitz all the way up to her later years where she is a fully qualified psychologist helping others to heal from their own suffering. The whole book is thought provoking, sad, helpful and eye-opening.
The novel is set out into four different sections
Part 1: Prison
Part 2: Escape
Part 4: Healing
Obviously the most harrowing upsetting part of the book was Edith’s time in Auschwitz, a line that really stood out to me was “Hunger is my only name” I don’t think anyone can ver comprehend or understand what anyone went through in Auschwitz, the hunger, beatings, fear and panic they endured daily for years must have been horrific. The way Edith writes about her time there is very descriptive so I could picture everything she went through in my mind really clearly. She also mentions things that I never knew about the camps such as she had to give blood quite regularly which was given to wounded German soldiers. I found this really hypocritical and it angered me so much when I read it, the Nazis were killing all these people because they were “disgusting” and shouldn’t be a part of the human race, yet not so disgusting to use their blood and put inside themselves to survive. “Good luck winning the war with my pacifist dancer’s blood”
Moving on from her imprisonment the novel follows Edith’s path to forgiveness and freedom. I felt this is what made the book so unique you hear or read lots of stories about prisoners life in Auschwitz but rarely does the story continue. Edith writes about her life beyond the camp and I found that really interesting to read.
Although the book is Edith’s memoir, she writes in a much broader sense, intertwined within her story she shares stories of patients that have come to her for multiple reasons. These patients had their own suffering, pain and needed healing which Edith helped them do so. You can tell by the way she writes about her patients that she has so much care and compassion for each and every one, she is a very committed therapist who really understands psychology. It’s interesting to read that her patients also helped her, many of them made her realise that she hadn’t forgiven Hitler, Nazis or herself so her path to freedom and healing was helped by her own patients which I thought was really lovely, although what she had to go through as a child was awful, instead of wallowing in self pity or sadness for the rest of her life she used this to spring board her career as a psychologist. Edith choose to use her pain and suffering to help others heal which I think is a really compassionate thing to do. The title of the novel and the main theme throughout is “Choices” the choices Edith and fellow friends and family members made during the war, choices that are big, small, life changing, choices that can make you see the light and heal, choices to give you freedom and no longer be a prisoner of your own mind. The choices she gives her patients and the choices her patients choose to do.
I don’t want to say too much about this book as I think you need to read and experience her story yourself. I will just finish by saying that this book is not only a story of a survivor but about the strength that lives inside us all to forgive, heal and make the right choices for ourselves. It is abundantly clear that Dr Edith Eger is a strong, brave, talented and amazing woman, her story is beautifully written, inspiring and moving. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Have you read The Choice? What were your thoughts about Edith’s story? Thanks for reading Katie x