I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author. It was actually quiet a coincidence because I got it while I was reading “Maus“, and it turns out this book complements it very well.
“The Butcher’s Daughter: a Memoir” by Florence Grende is a collection of vignettes about Florence and her family, their survival of the Holocaust by hiding in woods in East Poland and their new life in America. As a young girl stifled by their silence, Florence imagines her parents’ trauma as a beast that is always lurking within their house. It is not until she is an adult that Florence tries to learn more about her family and her people’s suffering and finds that some names and stories are lost forever.
Grende is a succinct and delicate writer who captures her experiences as a child of Holocaust survivors in bite-sized memories. She thoroughly explores the impact of her parents’ persecution on her home life and shines a light on intergenerational trauma and the effect of the war and moving to America has on her own Jewish identity. Her Mameh and Tateh are depicted as complex characters at once both stoic and vulnerable, trying to forget the unforgettable but who carry invisible (and visible) scars nonetheless.
Again, this would be an excellent companion to “Maus”. Grende provides a daughter’s perspective on her parents that is insightful and sympathetic with more of a focus on who they are rather than who they were.