A Small Favor: A Memoir

Anja Meulenbelt, Author Crossing Press $8.95 (108p) ISBN 978-0-89594-338-5
Translated from the Dutch, this is the first of Meulenbelt's works to appear in this country. A WW II memoir, the book recalls a strained mother-daughter relationship and its poignant rapprochement. The author, a feminist, relates that she wrote an autobiography denouncing her mother Annie as a cold parent, a subservient wife and a person of no accomplishments. In response, Annie requested that they meet to clear the air, and visits between mother and daughter continued until Annie's death some months later. During their conversations, the author asked her mother why she never talked about herself, not even about her well-known wartime heroism. Annie acknowledged that under the noses of the ubiquitous Nazis, she had taken Jewish children to safety but, she said, it was only natural to help: ``Others did more than I.'' Trading confidences, both humorous and painful, mother and daughter here reach a rapport, the catalyst to this moving account in which the author acknowledges her mistakes in underrating Annie, a woman of stature. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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