Review Blog

May 30 2016

The family with two front doors by Anna Ciddor

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266641
(Age: 8+) Anna Ciddor, a prolific and popular Australian author, has written a warm and amusing recollection of her grandmother's childhood in Lublin, Poland in 1920.
The Jewish family of nine children rent two apartments alongside each other, hence making use of the two front doors on the ground floor of the building. The household is constantly bustling and busy with family rituals and meals, alongside father's commitments, as a rabbi, to the local community. Long-held traditions of the Jewish people are the backdrop for the story of the betrothal of Adina Rabinovich, the oldest daughter, to Mordechai Weinberg, both in their late teens. No one has met young Mordechai, so the intrigue and excitement about him, grows as the wedding date comes closer. Food, clothes, jewellery, and family customs remain the main subject of this charming memoir along with the wonderful family bond that exists between parents and children. Their exuberance about life is infectious! However, underlying the joyfulness of this snapshot of life we realise that the Rabinovich family live in a poorer part of the city - the Jewish quarter. Mama's jewels are family heirlooms, forever fascinating for the young sisters, but we wonder how safe these treasures, and their shared treasured lives, will be in times to come. Lublin is about 150 kilometres south east of Warsaw. Deliberately, Ciddor does not mention the battle for Warsaw in the summer of 1920 and only refers to the perils of the Second World War and the Holocaust in her author's note.
Julie Wells

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