Eva and Eve Is An Awesome Book
After the passed away of Julie Metz’s mother in 2006, she thought, “I wish I had asked my mother more questions.”It is a common contrition for the newly grieving girls, but this one had a special urgency: Metz had just discovered” a vault of secrets ” hidden in his mother’s laundry drawer. A small book of memories contained notes from childhood and memories of Vienna, the Austrian city from which Metz’s mother Eva and grandparents had to flee in 1940. Her Jewish family had been torn apart two years earlier when Eva’s two older brothers were sent to London because the son of a neighbor who had joined the Hitler youth had begun to strike them. In 1940, London was no longer an option for the rest of the family, so they went to the United States. There, 12-year-old Eva changed her name to Eve and grew up to be a “steel and savvy” New Yorker, as well as a successful creative director at Simon & Schuster.
Metz knew this tragic saga from an early age, but her search for more details after her mother’s passed away turned into an passion that “looked like a session, a conversation that you and I never had in our lifetime. A collaboration with a spirit.”The result is his fascinating memoir, Eva and Eve: a Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a debate Left Behind.
The author is no stranger to digging into the past. Metz’s 2009 memoir, Perfection, reviewed her marriage after discovering that her recently expired husband had been a serial adulterer. In Eva and Eva, her research takes her to Vienna, where she visits her mother’s childhood apartment and visits the factory that her grandfather Julius Singer had to give up. Singer invented an accordion-like paper used to distribute medicine on a ” machine so complicated that the Nazis had kept Julius alive to operate it.””These tours are fascinating and heartbreaking. While Metz traces his mother’s journey to America, readers viscerally and instantly understand the difficulties and horrors his family faced.
Metz is a persistent and attentive researcher, but sometimes she describes imaginary scenes with mixed success. Many of these passages bring his ancestors to life, but some seem to be a stretch. Nevertheless, Metz is a compelling narrator who delivers thoughtful thoughts about how her family’s situation is parallel to today’s world. “I wondered about all the other Eva, the children who were forced to leave their country because of debate and drought, to board the Bestia train through Mexico or to wait in refugee camps in the Middle East and Europe,” she writes. “When those who have suffered persecution feel that they have their place, that their lives really matter, we will all live more truthful lives.”