Read Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir by Barbara Donsky Online

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From beyond the grave came a cry for help she could not ignore.When Barbara Bracht's mother vanishes, no one tells the young girl that her mother has died. She is left a confused child whose father is intent upon erasing any memory of his dead wife. Forced to keep the truth of her mother's existence from her younger brother, Barbara struggles to keep from being crushed undFrom beyond the grave came a cry for help she could not ignore.When Barbara Bracht's mother vanishes, no one tells the young girl that her mother has died. She is left a confused child whose father is intent upon erasing any memory of his dead wife. Forced to keep the truth of her mother's existence from her younger brother, Barbara struggles to keep from being crushed under the weight of family secrets as she comes of age and strives to educate herself despite her father's stance against women s education. Veronica s Grave shows the psychological cost of families who keep secrets and the importance of pursuing one's dreams and passions. the memoir, told in the young girl's voice, asks the reader to consider what parents owe their children and how far a child need go to make things right for her family.Ultimately, it's a tale of loss and resilience, showing the power of literature-- from Orphan Annie and Prince Valiant to the incomparable Nancy Drew -- to offer hope where there is little....

Title : Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781631520747
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 338 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir Reviews

  • CL
    2019-05-16 18:41

    I was an adult when I lost my mother so I cannot fathom growing up without your mother let alone during the 50’s and 60’s when all young women aspired to was being married young and they did not work outside of the home but were content to raise their children and keep house. I admire that she was able to break out of the stereo-typical role assign to women and forge her own path all without a support system. This is a good coming of age story and the struggle to find one’s self at a time when women were not encouraged to be different. I would like to thank the Publisher and Net Galley for the chance to read this ARC.

  • Sabeeha Rehman
    2019-05-16 15:40

    What a beautiful book! Its poignancy touches your heart. Feeling what it is like to lose a mother at a tender age and not know what you are missing, is touching and heartfelt. I felt her pain, and was grateful for what I was blessed with. It is remarkable to know the power of loss, and how it can become a force that propels one to reach new heights. Barbara pushed through barriers, seized opportunities, and went places. I highly recommend it.

  • Virginia
    2019-05-01 15:43

    5.0 out of 5 starsCourageousByGingeron July 10, 2016Format: Paperback|It took a lot of courage to write Veronica's Grave; I know because it closely parallels my own life and the emotional toll that keeping a secret takes. Mine was my Mother's suicide just before my 4th birthday. It was never spoken about, and like the author, I longed to talk to my Father about my Mother but was afraid it would be too painful for him because no ever talked about it. The confusion, shame, and feelings of inadequacy, were an unexplainable burden as the author so bravely tells us. Her openness is commendable and I greatly admire her for putting all of her feelings out there. I hope her readers gain some insight into the soul deep pain that is caused when we must lock our humanness away and cannot share ourselves and our emotions with those we love.

  • Odile Weissenborn Gordon
    2019-04-28 19:41

    I really loved this book. As a television journalist, I was often pitched books to review, and this particular book is a remarkable feat by a first-time author. I highly recommend it. Her sentences are a pleasure to read, so evocative of a child's point of view and later --as the main character grows up-- of a teen's point of view and then a mature woman's point of view. The story tugs at your heartstrings (as a stepmother, I found this story very moving) even as it illuminates a unique time in history... a time when American women were starting to gain independence. A special treat: the author, Barbara Donsky, has made herself very accessible; one can follow her blog, read various interviews with her, and even reach out to her personally.

  • Monica Starkman
    2019-05-11 16:50

    This highly enjoyable book is a memoir that reads like a very good novel: one continually wants to find out what happens next. It's difficult to find a book that is both delightful and serious, charming yet meaningful. Veronica's Grave is that book. It is chock full of right-on details that elicit fond recognition in the reader, and is written with wit yet with a palpable sadness and mystery that is a thread throughout the entire book. A book from a intelligent mind , written with a lovely style, this book brings much reading pleasure.

  • Sande Boritz Berger
    2019-05-02 20:46

    Barbara Bracht Donsky has crafted a poignant and important memoir that tugs at the heart from the very first page. As she grows from the child confused by the sudden loss of her mother to an inquisitive young adult, readers will be drawn to her fierce determination not to have the secrets and mystery of her mother’s death define the woman she eventually becomes- Sande Boritz Berger, Author of The Sweetness {Foreward Reviews Indie Fab Finalist}

  • Seton Rae
    2019-05-11 16:40

    A young woman comes of age in 1950s and 60s New York, and breaks away from her unsupportive family to pursue an education and career. Barbara Bracht Donsky writes with a thoughtful eye for detail, but the stream-of-consciousness narrative style occasionally makes for uneven storytelling. The latter half of the book, which explores the author's experiences as a flight attendant, provides a fascinating glimpse at a romantic bit of history.

  • Edward Bracht
    2019-05-11 20:39

    Great Read---Spot On , showing the Bronx at the time and the love and closeness of the extended family living close to each other on the same block, but also together in keeping family secrets in the family. I love the descriptions, I could hear the footfalls and feel the emotions of little Barbara as she goes about her house searching for her mother.

  • Marissa DeCuir
    2019-05-10 18:55

    This thoughtful, emotional and inspiring memoir is told in such a beautiful way, from the author's point of view as a young child, maturing as a young woman. You can see her coming of age throughout the pages, and your heart is with her as she overcomes such an awful situation of her father covering up her mother's death.

  • Lou Rubin
    2019-05-15 21:41

    Grief and loss are very difficult for many people to deal with. The loss of a parent, while natural in the scheme of living, is difficult for most adults. One can't imagine how a child faced with a repressed reality about their parent could thrive. But Barbara teaches us that will, talent, compassion and love can still triumph regardless of what life may throw our way.

  • Angelle Barbazon
    2019-04-27 21:44

    Veronica's Grave is a must-read memoir. It's truly an unforgettable story and beautifully written. Also, if you haven't seen it yet, this New York Magazine interview with Barbara Donsky is incredible!! - http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/05/...

  • Jenna Smith
    2019-05-04 20:43

    What an interesting story! Barbara Donsky's story of losing her mother and not knowing about her death is filled with so many emotions. The story is tragic, but beautiful. I would recommend it to anyone!

  • Edmond
    2019-05-23 19:40

    Donsky’s memoir is a great read. You enter the world of old, blue-collar NYC and then root for the author as she struggles to overcome the loss of her mother, the indifference of her father, and a world that seems to offer only drudgery.

  • Jennifer Vorbach
    2019-05-13 16:35

    A delicious read that recounts a life's quest with tenderness and humor. Barbara Donsky proves her mettle as a person and her talent as a writer.

  • Paul Baxter
    2019-05-08 22:57

    A meaningful and touching look at a personal struggle with tragedy in a family climate of secrecy. A must read.

  • vmo
    2019-05-08 15:57

    A beautifully told story that made me laugh and made me cry. Highly recommend.

  • Shanna Tidwell
    2019-05-19 19:43

    Wonderful narration!I really enjoyed this book. It definitely is not my normal thing but sometimes you need a break from your normal. The imagery of the times was fresh and vivid. I liked hearing about how things were. I hated Barbara having to struggle with a father who thought women weren't as good as men. I say thing snow to make excuses for older men who are misogynistic & talk down to me but then I remember that they'll never learn to be better if we don't stick up for ourselves. Barbara fought a good fight & made up her own rules for life. She didn't let anything hold her back. She is brave & bold. I was voluntarily provided this review copy at no charge by the author, publisher and or narrator.

  • Barbara Stark-Nemon
    2019-04-29 14:57

    Barbara Bracht Donsky’s Veronica’s Grave marries the universal poignancy of a child’s loss of a mother with Donsky’s pitch perfect description of the everyday universe of a girl half a century ago in America. The secrecy and shame around illness and death, rigid gender expectations, and inevitable complications of family serve to highlight Donsky’s resilience and will to embrace a larger world as she makes her way into a full and productive life. Wonderfully written, Veronica’s Grave deserves the attention it is getting.

  • Myrna
    2019-05-17 18:31

    "The Power of a secret lies in its repression "The story of a little girl whose mother died when she was only three years old and her father told her she could never talk about her mother. She carried repressed memories of her mother until she became an adult and discovered her mother was buried in an unmarked grave which gave her license to finally discuss it with her father.

  • JanePettitt
    2019-05-02 16:38

    Recieved as a free arc. Loved the book.

  • Donna
    2019-05-09 16:54

    Wow! Great book. Very emotional.

  • E.
    2019-04-29 22:35

    Flat and Unemotional I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I always feel a little guilty giving a memoir a low rating. Unless the memoir is poorly written the lowest rating I’ll give is 3 ½ stars, even then I’ll only go as low as 3 stars. With that said I could only rate Veronica’s Grave 2 ½ stars and I didn’t hesitate one bit. I found this work not only to be poorly written, unemotional, and it also made me quite angry.To start off, the author chose to eschew the use of dialogue tags. Cormac McCarthy said, “There’s no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks. I mean, if you write properly you shouldn’t have to punctuate.” and “You really have to be aware that there are no quotation marks, and write in such a way as to guide people as to who’s speaking.” Fair enough, if you have enough skill as a writer to write dialogue without the aid of dialogue tags, do so. The author did not have the skill to pull this off.The dialogue between two characters runs together in one paragraph, leaving the reader to try and decipher who's speaking and in some cases whether or not a specific sentence was actually verbalized. In one instance, Barbara is having a discussion with a nun and she seems to have developed telepathic powers. The way the sentence is written, it gives the impression she's reading the thoughts of the nun. It was only after I had gone back and read the sentence two or three times, I realized that Barbara had actually spoken. The entire book read like this and it was exhausting.Possibly because of the poor writing, I found a lot of instances where the author would refer back to something her father or mother said or did, that I couldn’t remember reading. She mentions several times near the end of the book how her father forbade her from mentioning the death of Veronica to her little brother Eddie. I couldn't remember an instance where it’s explicitly stated that she cannot mention her mother died. I even flipped back to the beginning of the book and skimmed to see if I could find this. Did she just infer that from her father telling her to call his new wife mother or was she told to hide the death of her mother? If it was just this one instance I’d be inclined to think that she was specifically told to lie about her mother and I just missed it, but this is repeatedly done throughout the memoir. She mentions conversations that she had or incidences that occurred in her life as a mere afterthought and it left me feeling like I had skipped huge chunks of the book or just wasn't paying attention.I can forgive a poorly written memoir, but I found that the overall work was written with little emotion. For a work that claims to deal "with loss at a young age" and "offers the reader a clearer, more optimistic perspective on life" it felt dry and distant. The book blurb offered a story of hope and overcoming adversity, but the text didn't deliver.I already wasn’t feeling any warm or fuzzy feelings towards this book and then I read this:"Survivor's tales -- be they from those incarcerated in brutal prisons, concentration camps or shipwrecked at sea -- point toward the brain's ability, when under stress, to retreat from the unrelenting fears and find sanctuary in memories drawn from more hospitable times. The memory of that morning at 2180 Ryer Avenue ... was such a sanctuary."Nope. No. No. No. No. No. No. The author just compared her childhood to being imprisoned in a concentration camp. Days later, I still can’t come up with a coherent response to this that isn’t just a bunch of curse words. Her experiences growing up are in no way similar to being in a concentration camp and to even think, for one minute, that they can in any way compare is just …If I hadn’t already been at the 90% mark I would have put the book down at that point. I continued on however, and I read about how hard the author had it growing up with a dead mother and a distant father. Once again, this was all relayed to the reader by telling not showing. The entire book was just flat. I may have enjoyed it, if it had been better written or some emotion had been injected into the memoir, but as it was I could only give it 2 1/2 stars.

  • Reader Views
    2019-04-26 21:31

    VERONICA'S GRAVE: A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIRBarbara Bracht DonskyShe Writes Press (2016)ISBN 9781631520747Reviewed by Kai Yaniz for Reader Views (10/16)In the book, “Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir” by Barbara Bracht Donsky, the reader is asked to consider the expectations parents owe their children and the distance a child should go to in order to do right by family. Donsky experienced an upbringing where her mother’s existence is erased from her memories and she feels she has to hide the truth from her younger sibling. As we travel through the memoir, Donsky shares her adventures in school, her career in the air, and the expectations her parents constantly placed on her as the only female of two brothers. In a time when it was frowned upon, Donsky’s determination to attend college and forge her independence is admirable.The book is interesting. I liked being transported to an earlier period in time. Since the book is a time capsule of memories, it was eye-opening to read about the sexism that occurred and its acceptance. I admired Donsky’s determination to be independent despite her parents’ objections. I also liked the thought process of Donsky as a young girl. I found her innocence and naivety endearing. Donsky wrote analogies and metaphors very well, such as comparison of the family dynamic as a triangle or describing the wind like a sweater.The emotional resonance from not knowing what happened to her mother did not translate in the book. The emotions go from naivety about it as a young girl to thinking about her mother every now and then as she grows older. A deeper expression of the emotional turmoil when the feelings arose would have carried out a deeper impact on the subject matter.Although it is understood that the events transpired decades ago and it is difficult to remember all the details, the memoir mentions people and events quickly. There is frequently no build-up or explanation to the rest of a meeting and what transpired after. For example, Donsky writes about a date, and then the memoir skips ahead, where the reader finds out she has been writing letters to and receiving from the man for a period. Another example, she is in a relationship after the initial meeting with a man. It is possible that type of ambiguous writing style was intentional in order to keep the book within a certain number of pages; however, I desired more details on these events.I did enjoy the story, however, a couple of recommendations in order for the book to have been more engaging would be to portray the difference between what the characters were thinking, doing, or saying as the dialog was conversational all the way through. This particular style affected the overall engagement in the book. However, this may have been a stylistic choice since Donsky did explain she didn’t remember everything as vividly while writing the book. Another recommendation would be to include captions with the pictures in order to bring further context to the story.In conclusion, “Veronica’s Grave” by Barbara Bracht Donsky was a bittersweet and enjoyable story. Donsky experienced a tragic loss in her life that was not addressed until a much later time. Throughout the memoir, Donsky consistently challenged societal norms against women in a graceful manner in addition to challenging her family’s viewpoints. Despite the lack of emotional intensity and the ambiguity in certain events, this book is a recommended read.

  • Mary
    2019-04-26 15:42

    I have to join the chorus and say how much I enjoyed this book, particularly the "period piece" aspects of it. Donsky evokes the middle of the last century skillfully, and never misses a beat or a detail as her convincing characters move from phase to phase. She does give the perspective not only of a child but also of a young woman who is utterly determined despite the patriarchal household where so much is denied and buried. The haunting photo on the front cover gives a feel for the profundity and beauty of what is to come. Thanks for a deep dive into another place and time, that takes us to buried treasure.

  • Linda Atwell
    2019-05-16 21:42

    I really enjoyed this memoir and the way Barbara wrote her story in the voice of her young self. It reminded me of the way Jeannette Walls wrote in Glass Castle. In Veronica's Grave, I felt so bad for that little girl who was not allowed to speak about her mother or her disappearance. It is amazing to see how some families bury memories, not realizing how such requests will affect a child. Barbara was expected to keep her thoughts about her mother to herself. And as her baby brother aged, she was instructed not to speak to him about her either. Once her father remarried, talking about her mother was not tolerated and because Barbara wanted her father to be happy, she complied. Her father didn't want the stigma of his new wife being a step-parent. It truly was a tragedy for this little girl. As Barbara aged in the book, so did her voice. She developed a feisty attitude that I admired. It is remarkable that she was able to overcome all the family secrets and find her way in this world. Good job, Barbara. I recommend this book.

  • Kai Yaniz
    2019-04-27 17:35

    In the book, “Veronica's Grave: A Daughter's Memoir” by Barbara Bracht Donsky, the reader is asked to consider the expectations parents owe their children and the distance a child should go to in order to do right by family. Donsky experienced an upbringing where her mother’s existence is erased from her memories and she feels she has to hide the truth from her younger sibling. As we travel through the memoir, Donsky shares her adventures in school, her career in the air, and the expectations her parents constantly placed on her as the only female of two brothers. In a time when it was frowned upon, Donsky’s determination to attend college and forge her independence is admirable.The book is interesting. I liked being transported to an earlier period in time. Since the book is a time capsule of memories, it was eye-opening to read about the sexism that occurred and its acceptance. I admired Donsky’s determination to be independent despite her parents’ objections. I also liked the thought process of Donsky as a young girl. I found her innocence and naivety endearing. Donsky wrote analogies and metaphors very well, such as comparison of the family dynamic as a triangle or describing the wind like a sweater.The emotional resonance from not knowing what happened to her mother did not translate in the book. The emotions go from naivety about it as a young girl to thinking about her mother every now and then as she grows older. A deeper expression of the emotional turmoil when the feelings arose would have carried out a deeper impact on the subject matter.Although it is understood that the events transpired decades ago and it is difficult to remember all the details, the memoir mentions people and events quickly. There is frequently no build-up or explanation to the rest of a meeting and what transpired after. For example, Donsky writes about a date, and then the memoir skips ahead, where the reader finds out she has been writing letters to and receiving from the man for a period. Another example, she is in a relationship after the initial meeting with a man. It is possible that type of ambiguous writing style was intentional in order to keep the book within a certain number of pages; however, I desired more details on these events.I did enjoy the story, however, a couple of recommendations in order for the book to have been more engaging would be to portray the difference between what the characters were thinking, doing, or saying as the dialog was conversational all the way through. This particular style affected the overall engagement in the book. However, this may have been a stylistic choice since Donsky did explain she didn’t remember everything as vividly while writing the book. Another recommendation would be to include captions with the pictures in order to bring further context to the story.In conclusion, “Veronica’s Grave” by Barbara Bracht Donsky was a bittersweet and enjoyable story. Donsky experienced a tragic loss in her life that was not addressed until a much later time. Throughout the memoir, Donsky consistently challenged societal norms against women in a graceful manner in addition to challenging her family’s viewpoints. Despite the lack of emotional intensity and the ambiguity in certain events, this book is a recommended read.Reviewed by Kai Yaniz for Readerviews.com

  • Lois
    2019-05-15 19:36

    The heart-warming sincerity and depth of this coming-of-age memoir, set against a backdrop of New York suburbs in the author’s younger years and later, as a young adult, against the Parisian rues, is all the more surprising for the emotional repressiveness of her father and stepmother, as well as of the nuns at the Catholic schools that she attends. Barbara Bracht Donsky’s genuineness and close association with the urban landscape, for which she clearly has deep feelings of appreciation (“The best people live in the Bronx, the beautiful Bronx”) can first be seen when her father wishes to leave the Bronx to move to Yonkers, which he regards as a more suitable setting in which to raise his young family.This is only one of the first instances of where Barbara (or “Bob” as her father prefers to call her) has a fall out with her only surviving parent. Much of her young life is spent rebelling, in spirit at least, against the dictates of a father who fails to recognise Barbara’s potential for worthwhile and meaningful employment, let alone for the leadership role that she has since come to assume within the broader society. The failure to develop a fully trusting and meaningful relationship with either her father or her stepmother hinges a great deal on the insecurities to which Barbara is prone, due to her mother’s death not being explained to her from an early age, and to her having to find out through her cousins that her mother has passed away, when all the time she had thought that she must simply be missing. The author reveals in poignant detail the effect that such non-disclosure has on her formative years, drawing the reader into her own inner world of emotional angst. Yet, despite such bereavement and loss, Barbara is able to soldier on to become very much her own woman, and one who grows into a mature and empathetic figure, who is able to reach out to others precisely because of her emotional baggage, rather than in spite of it.Veronica’s Grave: A Daughter’s Memoir is worthwhile reading for any young woman who has had to struggle to assert herself against a patriarchal and traditionally religious upbringing. For sheer joy of spirit and joie de vivre, Barbara Donsky’s memoir surpasses many another work of its like―an experience that promises to be a rewarding read for mother and daughter alike, it fully deserves the acclaim that it has so far achieved.

  • Lois Taylor
    2019-05-21 22:33

    "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" became the motto of the United Negro College Fund in 1972. I say ANY mind should be challenged to become the most that it is capable of becoming. The idea presented by the parochial schools of the author's era (the greatest thing a girl can do with her life is to become a mother) is not only wrong, but limiting in that it denies the world the blessings of the minds of all the world's best achievers, male or female. Good for you, Barbara, well done!

  • Becky
    2019-05-01 19:54

    Barbara Donsky tells us the story of her life as she grew up with her family after her mother died. The memoir is written in such an easy-going way that makes it very fast to read and it made me forget that I was reading the true story of Donsky's life. At times I thought I was reading an engaging fictional book and I had to stop to remind myself that this story was not made up. Donsky spends very little time talking about her earliest memories of her mother and the changes that occurred in her early life after her mother "went missing" as she called it in the book. Most of the story is about Donsky's life growing up in New York City with her father, step-mother (who she called mom) and her two brothers, and then her life after she turns 18 when she manages to escape the clutches of her family. While I found the look back at her life and what life was like for a woman in that day and age very captivating, I struggled with understanding the connection to how Donsky felt about her missing mother. From the title and the summary of the story, I would assume that most of the book is about how Donsky struggled in her life to live without her mother but more of the struggles in the book were those she had with her controlling father. Donsky does bring up at various times throughout the book about how she felt about living without her mother but those seemed to be more afterthoughts than part of her story. I very much appreciated the end of the book when Donsky visits her mother's grave and the reflection that she includes about her life and the impact her mother's death had on her feelings and insecurities growing up. I just wish that these reflections had been a larger part of her story throughout the book rather than just added in the last few pages of the book.I was sent this book in exchange for an honest, fair review. Thank you for sending me the book!

  • The Wordsworm
    2019-05-14 15:32

    The disappearance of Barbara’s mother happens when she is very young, and Bracht Donsky immediately transports you into the mind of a toddler: confused, reeling in shock, unable to comprehend why no one even speaks her mother’s name. The double-dose of pain that she feels, her grief at her mother’s absence and her bewilderment at the removal of all traces of her existence, are authentically described, without being melodramatic.The story is one of coming of age and self discovery, but also of loss and a need for closure. Like all coming of age stories, we are watching a young person work out how to separate herself from the binds of her families expectations, and to find the self-belief to pursue her own path. In this case, her family binds are intrinsically tangled with the grief that holds her back.To begin with, the narration felt so far inside Barbara’s head that I felt disconnected from the action, and the other characters, but as the story continues, this feeling of disconnection begins to release. As Barbara becomes her own person, the narration’s engagement with the world outside her head becomes stronger.It would be easy for a memoir that centres on deep pain to indulge in that pain, but this is not the case with Veronica’s Grave. Instead, everything is presented calmly, rationally, and with precision.