Rochelle Weiss is a beautiful, successful account executive for a top PR firm in Manhattan, earning a six-figure salary, living and experiencing the best that life has to offer. Her charmed life, the life she at times has taken for granted, is about to unravel . . .personally and professionally. Rochelle will receive a call from her elderly parentís physician with grave news about their health. This time a choice and sacrifice will be required of Rochelle, and she will begin to tap into the courage and devotion bequeathed her. For as long as she could remember, before illness began to decimate their lives, her parents had sheltered her from the knowledge of their horrific past as holocaust survivors. Now,sparing nothing, plunging head-on into harsh realities, Rochelle will begin a new venture . . .a dog walking route. Unwittingly, the dogís, and her unexplored gift of poetic writing, will be the nexus to discovering the secret of herself.
Rarely, if ever, have I read a novel that I can categorically say, I absorbed every word, every thought expressed on every single page, especially, one that was written in the first person, and journal like. However, Gloria Goodrich has exceeded all my preconceived notions with Walking Home. Such an exceptional book, and one that touched my heart profoundly. While reading the first few chapters, I received a call from my sister and I unashamedly sobbed through our whole conversation. The touching imagery and pointed revelations were so reminiscent of my motherís death that I identified my loss with Rochelle. The secondary characters, even down to the dogs that Rochelle walks, become an integral part of this extraordinary story. Rochelle is like a sponge, devouring knowledge, and power from the city and the lives she is now privy to.
Sadly, I have been acquainted with a few holocaust survivors. In addition, I have a relation by marriage that has lived and experienced much of the same emotional deprivation and haunting as Ms. Goldreichís characterization of Rochelle. The morbid inadequacy felt by these children, whether it is real or imagined, and the constant need to discern the depth of their parentís anguish is heart-rending. Moreover, they seem to own an inherent empathy, even when conflict is present.
Before reading Walking Home I thought I understood this dilemma but I am ashamed to say, I had no clue whatsoever. Ultimately, we must face the fact that the annihilation of hundreds of thousands during the holocaust and those lives forever lost is collectively, all our crosses to bear. Our humble offers of sympathy to their children and the legacy of sorrow they bear, is meager at its best, sometimes embarrassingly pretentious at its worst. Making a conscious choice to educate our minds, and more importantly listen with an open heart, would seem the surest road to enlightenment. I hope that it can also be the sincerest expression of our compassion.
Please read Walking Home, I know that I am definitely buying several copies to share with family and friends. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience Rochelleís story and the search for meaning and truth in her life. It is inadequate . . .but it is the very least that we can do.