Tag Archives: Harry Bernstein

Book Diva Review: The Golden Willow

thegoldenwillow The Golden Willow: The Story of a Lifetime of Love, by Harry Bernstein is the third book he has written (the previous books are The Invisible Wall, and also The Dream).

I will not delve deeply into the story line of The Golden Willow, as I would then be giving much of it away. Suffice it to say that the memoir is one that reflects on Harry’s marriage to his wife, Ruby. It chronicles their life together, from their first meeting to their journey of love through the decades.

They fell in love at first sight, so to speak, at a dance, and that meeting took them through the trials and tribulations of marriage. They had a happy life together, at first living in a small rented room in Manhattan. From there they moved to Greenwich Village in order to be surrounded by those whose interests coincided with theirs…the cultural arts. Harry wanted to be a writer, and they both felt living within writers, painters, dancers, etc., might give him not only inspiration, but an advantage.

After approximately four years, they moved to the suburbs, and their life held new meaning, as they were parents of two children. The reader is taken through the phases of their life together, through the decades of political and social turmoil, through the decades in which their undying love for each other, and their dreams survived. Each one held the highest respect for the other, and both Harry and Ruby had a marriage full of the deepest and enduring love, combined with mutual interests, admiration and caring.

Ruby died at the age of 91, from Leukemia. Harry felt the loss deeply, after being married for so long. He eventually began writing, hoping to fulfill his long-held dream of having a book published. That dream came true in the form of The Invisible Wall.

The Golden Willow is a lovely book, and one that is a testament to their marriage, and a tribute to Ruby. It is also a tribute to Harry’s determination to try to move forward after Ruby’s death, and to tell their story. It is illuminating, filled with humor, and with much poignancy. It is not filled with the same details and lessons as The Invisible Wall and The Dream, held, as it is more of a story outlining Harry and Ruby’s marriage and deep love, and its endurance over decades. It is a memoir that will be a lasting legacy to their children, a legacy of undying love.

Harry Bernstein has written another inspiring book/memoir, and one I recommend to everyone.

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Filed under Book Diva's Book Reviews, Family Dynamics, Inspiration, Memoirs, Non-Fiction

The Dream, by Harry Bernstein

“The Dream“: A Memoir, by Harry Bernstein, is Bernstein’s follow-up memoir to his critically acclaimed “The Invisible Wall“, which I read and reviewed, when it was first published.

When I saw “The Dream” on the shelf of newly released books, in the book store, I grabbed it immediately, because I was enthralled with “The Invisible Wall” immensely. I am not sorry I did, as reading the book paints a picture of America both before and post-depression era. In particular, “The Dream” focuses on the hardship Bernstein’s family went through, both physically, socially, emotionally and mentally.

The family members that made up Bernstein’s family are as different as they are alike. Each member relates to the whole, each member’s personality a reflection of their harsh and abusive environment. The dominant force within the family was Bernstein’s mother, the ever protective mother, the one who held the family together during times of crisis, and held the family together from her emotionally abusive husband.

Bernstein’s father was an alcoholic, a verbally, and sometimes physically, abusive man, who kept the family hanging by monetary threads, as he doled out as little as possible in order for them to survive, and meet the essentials of food, clothing and shelter. He spent most of his earnings in pubs. His own father earned a living as a beggar in New York. This didn’t stop Bernstein’s mother from her goals and dreams.

DREAMS PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN OUR LIVES IN THOSE EARLY days in England. Our mother invented them for us to make up for all the things we lacked and to give us some hope for the future. Perhaps, also, it was for herself, to escape the miseries she had to endure, which were caused chiefly by my father, who cared little about his family.”

Bernstein’s mother had a dream, a dream to move to America and make a better life for herself and her children. When they were sent tickets (anonymously) to emigrate, she didn’t hesitate to leave. She envisioned a new beginning, a life of opportunity.

Without those tickets, and subsequent events, Bernstein would never have met his beloved wife, Ruby. They were married for 67-years, before her death in 2002. Their courtship and romance is deeply touching.

Although 98-years in age, Bernstein’s mind is as cognizant as that of a much younger person. His wit, poignancy and incredible word paintings fill the pages of “The Dream“, flowing from one scenario to the next. Bernstein’s zest for life is apparent throughout the book. He brings us not only a compelling memoir, but an accounting of a dysfunctional family, within the confines of Chicago and New York during the 1920s and 1930s. “The Dream” is an inspiration to all of us, each sentence written with emotion, strength, eloquence and brilliance. Harry Bernstein, himself, is an inspiration to all of us.

If you read “The Invisible Wall“, you must read “The Dream“. It will not disappoint you. If you didn’t read “The Invisible Wall“, I suggest you do so, but in any event, definitely read “The Dream“.

I personally own and have read this book.

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Book Diva

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