BOOK REVIEW: Annie’s Ghosts

Posted on May 17, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

An unusual story about the forgotten.

An unusual story about the forgotten.

Annie’s Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg is an unusual, one-of-a-kind, compelling must read of the first order. The cover states it is a journey into a family secret. The secret begins when Steve’s mother, Bertha/Beth Luxenberg decides not to tell her husband to be that she had a disabled sister who was sent away to a mental institution. So begins a massive uncovering of the reasons for the secret and just who this sister was.

Steve visits doctors, hospitals, libraries, museums, courthouses, and government offices in his search for the truth. He tracks down family and friends and co-workers. He visits places that were meaningful in relationship to his mom. This journey at the very least gives a more thorough appreciation of the work of genealogists. We have the sense that we are learning right along with the author.

Even World War II is involved because Bertha/Beth’s mother lived in Russia during the war and suffered the depression in America. This had a bearing on why Annie was admitted to Eloise Hospital and never released.

I felt shocked at the anonymous graves of Eloise. It felt shameful that so many people were locked away to die as forgotten as they lived. My opinion went back and forth regarding whether the secret should have been kept.
This story is an informative off the beaten path intrigue that should not be missed. It gets my big thumbs up.

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