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A New York Times Bestseller "I'll be forever changed by Dr. Eger's story...The Choice is a reminder of what courage looks like in the worst of times and that we all have the ability to pay attention to what we've lost, or to pay attention to what we still have."--Oprah "Dr. Eger's life reveals our capacity to transcend even the greatest of horrors and to use that suffering for the benefit of others. She has found true freedom and forgiveness and shows us how we can as well." --Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate "Dr. Edith Eva Eger is my kind of hero. She survived unspeakable horrors and brutality; but rather than let her painful past destroy her, she chose to transform it into a powerful gift--one she uses to help others heal." --Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle Winner of the National Jewish Book Award and Christopher Award At the age of sixteen, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were killed, Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele, forced Edie to dance for his amusement and her survival. Edie was pulled from a pile of corpses when the American troops liberated the camps in 1945. Edie spent decades struggling with flashbacks and survivor's guilt, determined to stay silent and hide from the past. Thirty-five years after the war ended, she returned to Auschwitz and was finally able to fully heal and forgive the one person she'd been unable to forgive--herself. Edie weaves her remarkable personal journey with the moving stories of those she has helped heal. She explores how we can be imprisoned in our own minds and shows us how to find the key to freedom. The Choice is a life-changing book that will provide hope and comfort to generations of readers.
- ISBN-13: 9781501130786
- ISBN-10: 1501130781
- Publisher: Scribner Book Company
- Publish Date: September 2017
- Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Page Count: 304
Resilience and hope
The Choice is more than an eloquent memoir by Holocaust survivor and psychologist Edith Eva Eger. It is an exploration of the healing potential of choice. When someone chooses to harm us, our sense of self can later be overwhelmed by the memory of that pain. But Eger, who has helped countless trauma patients, believes that we can regain our autonomy by choosing to confront the past—a lesson she learned from her own experience.
When Eger was 16, Josef Mengele, the abhorrent Auschwitz physician, made horrific choices for her. He chose for Eger to live and sent her parents to die. That same day, he chose Eger to dance “The Blue Danube” for his entertainment. Although a prisoner, Eger infused that dance with all the joy that dancing always brought her. Mengele gave her a loaf of bread as a reward for her bravura performance. Eger shared the loaf with the other prisoners, and later, a girl who had eaten that bread chose to help Eger, saving her life as a result. The ability to choose, even though those choices were circumscribed by an electrified fence, gave Eger the strength to survive.
After the war, she repressed these memories to spare others the pain of her experience. Wracked with guilt for having survived when so many perished, Eger watched her marriage crumble. Another choice confronted her: Stay mired in the past, or face it and learn to live in the present. Her journey took her back to Auschwitz, where she unlocked the last and darkest memory of that first day, and forgave not only her tormentors but also, and most importantly, herself.
Eger is not suggesting that she is unscarred by her experience, but that she lives a life filled with grace. The Choice is not a how-to book; it is, however, an invitation to choose to live life fully.
This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.