Being Lena Levi by Bobbie Ann Cole is a powerful story of identity and discovery. It is set in 1950 but has its roots in the kindertransport of 1939.
Torn between Jewish foundations and a Christian upbringing Lena Levi sets out on her own personal journey of discovery. She needs to know who she is in order to work out where she is going. There is both the internal exploration and a physical exploration as she travels from Germany as a three year old to England and then later to Israel.
The reader witnesses the internal conflicts as Lena Levi tries to work out where she belongs. She always feels like a stranger in a foreign land.
Memory is a weird thing, as snippets of the past wing their way into Lena Levi’s mind.
Torn between two mothers – is Lena Levi a product of nature? Or nurture? Which is her ‘real’ mother? Her birth one? Or the one who has brought her up? Where is her true home?
The book is written in the first person. The reader becomes intimately acquainted with Lena Levi. Life as a teen is hard enough without suddenly discovering you were born Jewish and then brought up a Christian. Many conflicts arise in Israel.
Being Lena Levi was a powerful read. I read it in just one sitting and can highly recommend it.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.