Finding The Grain by Shulamit Hartal is a bit of a strange story. It is the story of Chani Tavin and how she lived her life despite the emotional abuse she received in her childhood from her mother. However, the entire story is told via journals that she kept shortly before she died.
Chani is the middle of three daughters. Her older sister, Aliza, and herself were born during their mother's first marriage. Their youngest sister, Chava, was born during their mother's second marriage. All three of them experienced varying types of abuse from their mother. From threats of abandonment to overfeeding to controlling what they wore, the girls lived through their own nightmares.
As an elderly woman, Chani tripped over some psychology books during a trip to the local recycyling center. She decides to take them home. Over the next few months, with the help of her psychologist friend, Iris, she digs through her past trauma to find the real Chani inside.
In the beginning, I had a difficult time with the book. It seems like every Jewish mother and father are referred to as "Ima" and "Aba." I was easily confused about who they were talking about, especially since the story is told via journals read by Chani's granddaughter. Ima referred to Chani's own mother, as well as Chani herself when her children were talking about her in the present time. After a few chapters, I managed to get everything sorted out.
Once I figured out all of the relationships, I found myself drawn into the story. Would Chani abuse her children the way her mother abused her? Would she always suppress every emotion so she never had any feelings ever? Would her family find out about her inner turmoil?
It is definitely a well-told story. If you can get past all of the random words in foreign languages (there's some Hebrew, some German, some Polish...), I think you will enjoy Chani's tale.
I received a copy of this book for free. All opinions contained within are solely my own.