Friday, February 06, 2009

Regina's Closet

Regina's Closet:Finding my Grandmother's Secret Journal is by Diana M. Raab. From the book flap~

When glamorous Regina inexplicably ends her own life, her ten-year-old granddaughter, Diana, is devastated by the loss, and haunted by questions she wishes sh could have asked her grandmother. Diana's discovery of Regina's secret journal three decades later gives her a window into the unknown events of Regina's tumultuous life. Diana looks to the journals for answers, trying to reconnect with her beloved grandmother.

Through Regina's words, Diana learns of the privations of World War I, the heartbreak of being orphaned, and the pandemonium of events during her immigrations from Poland to Vienna to Paris and finally to the United States.

Diana draws strength from her grandmother's example, which sustains her when she receives some of her own shattering news. To share her personal story, Diana must first tell Regina's. The end result is a unique braided narrative, with excerpts of Regina's diary interwoven with Diana's own life experiences, which creates a touching portrait of a relationship between a granddaughter and her grandmother.

Raab tells an emotional story that draws the reader in from the very first page. Regina's story showed what an amazing woman she was, especially after the hell she had lived through. Regina's story made me think about my mother who died when I was only twelve-years-old. My mother also suffered from depression, but unlike Regina, it was not the cause of her death. I did recognize many of Regina's symptoms of depression in the memories of my mother. So far, I've managed to keep depression at bay, but I do believe that it is a hereditary disease, that can strike at any time. Reading about Regina and Diana's relationship also made me very grateful for the many years I had with both of my grandmothers, one of which I still have in my life today.

I enjoyed Regina's Closet very much and really liked the fact that the story made me think about so many other things in my life and the life of others. I look forward to reading other works by Diana Raab in the future.

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