Tuesday, October 8, 2019

My Lost Family, by Danny Ben-Moshe (author, narrator), Dasha Lisitsina (author)

Audible Original, October 2019

This is the true story of a family turned upside down by the reappearance of two children who disappeared forty years previously.

Lillian was a young girl growing up in a Yiddish-speaking East London neighborhood when she met handsome, charming Raymond. He was twenty and she was fifteen, when she got pregnant with their first child, and they immediately married. When they wound up living in the tight quarters of Lillian's parents'  apartment with their two young children, it breaks what was never a well-advised marriage to begin with. For a while, Raymond showed up most Sundays to pick up the two children and take to them to the park or someplace else. Then, one Sunday, he picked up the children and never returned with them. Forty years later, in the mid-90s, Lillian received a letter from her daughter with Raymond, Michelle.
In the meantime, Lillian had remarried, had two more children, battled depression and guilt over losing her first two children and not knowing how to find them. One of her second pair of children is Danny Ben-Moshe, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. As they reconnect with Michelle and her brother Andrew, meet their families, discover that Raymond had still other families, all eventually abandoned one way or another, and learn how all of this has affected everyone involved, even into the next generation. Being a documentary maker, Danny Ben-Moshe does the natural, obvious thing of recording every conversation involved in the process that he can get permission to record.

It's a slow and challenging process, piecing together everything that happened, starting with where Raymond, from a wealthy Iranian Jewish family that were tailors to the Shah, took Michelle and Andrew that Sunday when he didn't return them--and it turned out that, initially at least, it wasn't very far.

This is a painful but fascinating family story, and well worth listening to.

I received this autiobook as part of Audible's Audible Originals program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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