Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mountain of Crumbs, A Memoir

A Mountain of Crumbs is an extraordinary memoir of Elena Gorokhova. Elena was born in former Leningrad, Russia, and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. The story of Elena’s life is written as an honest, fascinating, historical, Russian novel. As readers enjoy sharing the day to day struggles and real life discoveries of Elena, along with her family and friends, we also learn historical facts and knowledge of Russia.
The title originates from Elena’s childhood of poverty; Elena’s grandmother invented the crumb game. With stomachs growling and making do with a piece of black bread and a cube of sugar, she broke the bread and sugar with her fingers saying, “Look at how much you’ve got, a whole mountain of crumbs.”
This began Elena’s disillusion regarding her country’s deprivation and oppression. She felt in her heart there must be a better life beyond Russia. This is the journey Elena takes her readers on with every chapter being a new age which brings enlightenment to Elena.
There is a passion for the English language that allows Elena to reach her goal of leaving Russia. She educates herself regarding the collective vs. capitalism. It is a wonderful read to see Elena succeed and immigrate to the U.S.
I recommend this book, A Mountain of Crumbs, by Elena Gorokhova to all readers. However; I would have liked a glossary of the Russian vocabulary Elena included in her memoir. Also, the Epilogue is a mere three pages and does not do justice to my curiosity about Elena’s new life in the U.S. I am thinking and hoping a sequel may be the reason for this. This book possesses all the elements of an informative text and a great story.

Book Review by Mary Crocco

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