Title: Do Not Disclose
A Memoir of Family Secrets Lost and Found
Author: Leora Krygier
Publisher: She Writes Press
Genre: Biographies, Memoirs, History
Release Date: 24th August 2021
BLURB from Goodreads
Leora, a juvenile court judge, wife, mother, and daughter, is caught in the routine of work, taking care of her family and aging parents. But she’s also a second-generation Holocaust survivor. It’s an identity she didn’t understand was hers until she accidentally discovered a secret file of handwritten notes addressed to her father. A further discovery of a seemingly random WWII postcard in a thrift store sets her on a collision course with the past in this lyrical memoir about secrets hidden within secrets, both present-day and buried deep within wartime Europe.
I like the cover of this book as it could actually be a still shot of a scene from the book, of the very thing that sets Leora off on investigating her family and what turns out to be its rather complicated history. The picture on the cover made me think of an old handbag my grandmother had full of old photographs too. If I saw this book on a bookstore shelf, I would certainly pick it up to learn some more about it, so I think the cover works well.
I’ll be totally honest from the blurb I thought that perhaps the mention that Leora’s parents were Holocaust survivors that the book was going to be about their life, or their families lives during this dark era of history, but it was more about Leora’s parent’s more recent life history and a secret they have been keeping from Leora. Something neither of her parents talk about even to each other. Leora’s mum Yael has recently retired from her work at the Jewish Federation and is determined to tidy up the house and get rid of some of the things Leora’s dad Levi seems to, in her opinion, hoard. Levi hates to throw anything away saying it may be some use one day. When Leora finds the photograph of herself sat in between her mother and her Aunt Rhea that sets her mind to discovering who Aunt Rhea is and what the “big” family secret is. Leora’s mother tolerates Rhea and her daughter Dena in their life but Leora isn’t sure what happened between her mum and Rhea. I wanted this part about Leora’s parents and Rhea to be more detailed. How Levi and Rhea had met, what had happened. What happened when Yael discovered the reality of the relationship with Levi, Rhea and Dena. I was left with questions unanswered.
As well as that mystery, whilst browsing in an old postcard shop, she comes across a postcard and is determined to find out as much as she can about it. She also wants to find the author of the postcard or someone who knew him. Throughout her research Leora does gain some new long-lasting friendships. In fact, I enjoyed reading about Leora and her daughter bonding whilst visiting one of these friends.
It’s difficult to say a great deal more without revealing too much of the book itself. There were parts of the book that I really enjoyed reading, and certain sections I loved but then when it switched about it felt confusing, I kept wondering how the two sections of the book were going to come together.
My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that at times the different themes, parts of the story felt like two books not quite correctly slotted together. I did like both parts of the whole book but together they sometimes didn’t fit that well, it kind of spoilt the flow of the book. It just felt like the book needed tweaking, or fine tuning just a little more. Or even put into two separate books!
Summing up whilst I did enjoy the book as a whole, I honestly found the way it jumped around a tad confusing and at time irritating. I had also worked out the situation/parentage of Dena which I actually thought Leora had revealed earlier in the book so I didn't quite understand the 'big realisation' that Leora had later in the book.