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The Book of Lost Names


A heartrending novel of survival, inspired by an astonishing true story from ...
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Did you feel sympathetic toward Mamusia, or did you grow irritated by her inability to understand Eva's drive to help others? Who or what do you believe is responsible for the growing hostility in their relationship?

Created: 05/21/21

Replies: 18

Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2563

Did you feel sympathetic toward Mamusia, or did you grow irritated by her inability to understand Eva's drive to help others? Who or what do you believe is responsible for the growing hostility in their relationship?

Mamusia feels as if Eva is abandoning her. She also tells Eva that she is being brainwashed and has forgotten who she is as she erases Jewish children's names and attends masses. Do you think Mamusia is justified in feeling betrayed by Eva? Did you feel sympathetic toward Mamusia as she was left behind in Madame Barbier's boardinghouse, or did you grow irritated by her inability to understand Eva's drive to help others? Who or what do you believe is responsible for the growing hostility in their relationship?


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 334

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

(Spolier alert! I had mixed feelings about Mamusia. On one hand, she was in pain because she didn't know her husband's fate. She thought Eva was abandoning her heritage. I don't think Mamusia understood what Eva was actually doing, nor did she want to. Mamusia became bitter and Eva became distant. I think they both contributed to the problem. At the time Eva left Mamusia at the boarding house, I didn't feel sorry for Mamusia. When I learned she was captured, I felt bad, especially when she pronounced her pride in Eva before she died.


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 495

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

Totally irritated with Mamusia. I don't have a lot of patience for people who refuse to see the truth, or for people who show no gratitude. I understand wishing to believe her husband was still alive (and it turns out he was!) but she put her daughter through hell.


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 136

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I was not sympathetic toward Eva’s mother. I thought her character was too stereotypical- I grew to dislike her as she whined & badgered Eva. I tired of Eva trying to find love or support from her mother. No empathy for her but in the end she did have one act of courage. Didn’t find that believable..,


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 97

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I tried to feel some sympathy toward Eva's mother because the poor woman's life was turned upside down. The only person she had left was her daughter, and she felt she was being abandoned by her. Sometimes people can rise above their situation and sometimes they can't.


Posted May. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynne z

Join Date: 01/06/18

Posts: 21

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I agree with others who had mixed feelings about Eva's mother, but she seemed so real to me - not stereotypical. I felt that Kristin Harmel did such a remarkable job with dialogue. I can still "hear" Mamusia in my head - complaining, berating and loving Eva.


Posted May. 22, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
robertaw

Join Date: 04/20/16

Posts: 54

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I didn't like her and thought the author made her a stereotype.


Posted May. 22, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Theresa

Join Date: 06/22/20

Posts: 20

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I started out feeling sympathetic but as the story continued, I grew tired and upset with Mamusia's narrow view of all that had happened and her many hurtful remarks to Eva. As a parent myself, I do understand however where Mamusia is coming from. We so want our children to make the right choices and it is difficult at times to step back and let them make their own choices. I came to understand Mamusia and could let go of being upset when I was reminded by Eva's father that: "......every parent wants what is best for his or her child. But we are all guilty of seeing things through the lens of our own lives. We forget sometimes that it is (their) life to live." and "you are betraying nothing if you follow your heart."


Posted May. 22, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
robynn

Join Date: 05/21/21

Posts: 5

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I tried to be sympathetic toward Mamusia because I know that she was scared. She had never really been on her own and after having her husband taken away she was afraid of also losing her daughter. As time went on I became less sympathetic because even as she saw what was going on around her she still could not accept the reality of their situation.


Posted May. 23, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyd

Join Date: 07/31/19

Posts: 40

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I too felt she was a little stereotypical (the constant whining, complaining, refusing to see anything positive in their situation, as in still alive!). Then again, I am looking through a totally different set of lens.
I also felt her change of heart at her end was a leap. I had actually half expected her to blow their cover, if all of her complaining had been to the wrong person!


Posted May. 23, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
annar

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 88

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

No. I didn't have any sympathy for Mamusia. I thought she was whiny, complained all the time and was so unfair to her daughter. She caused a lot of pain for her daughter.
Her redeeming quality was at the end of her life when she didn't tell what her daughter had been doing. By protecting her daughter, she lost her life.


Posted May. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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Gabi

Join Date: 02/22/21

Posts: 17

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I thought it was ironic that Mamusia took the stance that she did toward's Eva's efforts and her work to help others. Afterall, it was Mamusia when explaining her willingness to help Madame Fontain by watching her daughters, despite the woman's feelings about Jews, who said "...if we lose our goodness, we let them erase us." Yet, Mamusia lost her goodness by not recognizing the goodness and sacrifices of Eva's efforts, rather instead accused Eva of trying to erase the Jewish heritage of the refuge children as well as her own. While Mamusia's behavior likely came from a place of fear, uncertainty, turmoil and change...it was tiresome and detrimental to Eva.


Posted May. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroln

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 63

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

The mother was my least favorite character. She was the most ungrateful person, I was very disappointed in her stance towards Eva's efforts to help others, especially children. She simply did not recognize the goodness in her daughter, accusing her of trying to erase her Jewish heritage, rather than looking at her tremendous deeds.


Posted May. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyb

Join Date: 02/17/18

Posts: 17

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

At first I had some sympathy for the mother. As time went on I felt she was becoming too self-centered. Losing her husband was horrible and frightening but she had blinders on when it came to understanding her daughter. I think the author may have laid it on a little too thick as the mother made worse and worse choices.


Posted May. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
LeahLovesBooks

Join Date: 04/08/14

Posts: 69

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

Mamusia was a not simple character. Before she died, she acknowledged her pride in her daughter's life-saving work which was simultaneously life threatening to all involved, especially Eva. Of course she was ornery! Then she feared for her husband's fate. I'm sympathetic to her.


Posted May. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
loisk

Join Date: 05/16/21

Posts: 8

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I had very little sympathy toward Mamusia. She was completely self-centered and made Eva's life almost unbearable with her constant histrionics and accusations. Also, it was extremely convenient (and, unrealistic, in lieu of her previous behavior) that she acknowledged her pride in her daughter at the end.


Posted May. 31, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 99

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I agree with Marcia S - on the one hand, Mamusia was in pain and truly didn't understand; while on the other, she didn't really try to understand. Then there was Eva's part in the alienation.


Posted May. 31, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 110

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

Can I feel both sympathy and irritation? I think Mamusia came from a generation where life was very proscribed: you stayed in your community, got married, had children, you kept your faith and your life continued pretty much as it was. I think when reality came around and Tatus was taken, I think her mind broke a little bit and she tried to keep things just as she was used to because she couldn't accept that her entire life had changed overnight. That said, she irritated the daylights out of me!

Coming out of this pandemic time, I think it was unfortunate that she was left to herself too much. Too much time to think tends to turn us inward. I think she would have been much better off had she been able to get out of the house and do something.


Posted Jun. 13, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gaylamath

Join Date: 02/11/20

Posts: 19

RE: Did you feel sympathetic toward ...

I found myself losing patience with Eva's mother, she was acting like the spoiled child and Eva was forced to act like the adult. I realize she lost her husband, felt betrayed by Eva for a host of perceived wrongs she thought Eva was doing and she also felt abandoned by Eva. I do think that the role of a woman in Eva's mother's generation in those days did have a lot of bearing on why she reacted to everything the way she did. She was used to being taken care of and while Eva was doing just that, I don't think she trusted her to do it properly. I understand Eva's desire and responsibility to take care of her mother and I'm glad that Eva followed through with what she knew she needed to do for herself and the underground.


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