Monday, September 19, 2022

Review of "Goodbye America," by Rita Malie

 Review of

Goodbye America, by Rita Malie, ISBN 9780978799571

Five out of five stars

Immigrant to emigrant to immigrant again

 When she is almost 90, Anna Baron tells two of her grandchildren the story of her youth. It is a very unusual one, her father Deddo left their native land of what is now Slovakia in 1912 and settled in Ohio, where he worked in a steel mill. At the time, Slovakia was a part of the empire of Austria-Hungary and was dominated by the Magyars or Hungarians.

 After two years, Deddo saved enough money to send for his wife Mommo and two children Mary and George. Anna and her sister Julia were born in America, so they immediately became citizens. In 1919 Deddo contracted the Spanish Flu and died. Distraught, Mommo decided that her family would go back to Slovakia, which was now a province of the new country of Czechoslovakia. The war had led to economic devastation in Europe, even where there was no actual fighting. The region that is now Slovakia was no exception.

 After some time in their shared struggles in Slovakia with relatives and in what was a foreign country to Anna and Julia, Mommo decided to move back to America. She left Anna in Slovakia until she could acquire the resources to send for her. While it was scary for her to travel to America, she was accompanied by her relative John. Once she is back in the United States, the story ends.

 This is an interesting tale of how a young girl managed to cope with several traumatic events in her childhood. Making two trans-ocean trips at such an early age was surely a major challenge. Losing some very close relatives that anchored her life further complicated things. Yet, at the age of 89, she was able to enthrall her two granddaughters with the story of her youth and how she went through becoming an immigrant twice.

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