It often amazes me how a person can condense their life into a singular book. A life relived and retold in the form of printed words on creamy white paper, bound together by glue. 364 pages, thousands of words and hundreds of full stops. Edith Eger’s story of her complex and captivating life will stay with me on my journey through my own. After reading about experiences in the monstrous concentration camps of Hitler’s reign of terror, I always believe that I won’t ever be shocked again by what occurred during these times. But I fail. Every time, I am thrown into a manner of disgust and heartbreak for the innocent people who endured Earth’s very own hell.
Within Edith’s story, we accompany her through her a vast time span of her life. We are shown the horrors she was subjected to. We share the moments she found droplets of courage in a body drained of food and waiter. We witness the daily battle of surviving from sunrise to sunset. We are given an insight into her exhausting struggle after she is liberated: recovering physically, learning to trust and fighting battles even after the war is over. We sail with her to America and witness the hardship of rebuilding a life after your true life was snatched away from you. We share the beautiful moments of love, family and obtaining her career as a psychologist. But what is also highlighted rather prominently throughout the book, is her inspirational willpower and her dedication to others whilst trying to heal from the past. Eger sheds light on the demons that within her; the ones she tried to suppress for so long. She makes choices. She watches her patients make choices. She is constantly reminding the reader that we all have a choice. Sometimes the dense, suffocating fog of our anxieties and our past obscures our right of choice, but if we look closely, we all have a choice. She chose to accept the harrowing realisation that Auschwitz did not end once the American soldier rescued her from a bed of bones. Her constant search for more in life shows us that we are all made for a purpose – which purpose? That is up to you to explore. What strikes me after reading this, is the honesty of her words. Whilst she helps her patients to heal, she isn’t aware that she is healing herself. Her patents often teaching her things about her own strife and internal emotion.
When I closed the book on the final page, I sat thinking for a while about the words that I had read. What Eger did, was not only explain her soul-wrenching experience in Auschwitz, but the life she had to create afterwards and how this was of an equal struggle in different ways. There is always a choice for us. Whether we see it or not. Whether we think we deserve it or not. The choice is ours. There is always hope for a new choice and a new chance in life.