One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World

Avid Reader. Sept. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781982167226. $28. BIOG
Frank (The Mighty Franks) provides a compelling and unique story of genocide and loss. The central figure, Stella Levi, is intensely captivating and a woman with remarkable insight. In her 90s when Frank encounters her, she is cautious about sharing her story. Over the course of 100 Saturdays and several years, however, she unspools a remarkable life, starting in a vanished Old World enclave of Jews on the island of Rhodes, a time in Auschwitz, and a chapter in New York City. While her story includes the Holocaust, for Stella it is about the overwhelming force of modernity and push to discover oneself. Stella and Frank’s conversations evoke a remarkable relationship, and Stella herself is a model for constant reinvention, even at her age. While memory is fallible after so long, the author always includes relevant historical context and research to fill in and fact-check Stella’s stories, but it’s done in a way that still honors her version. Illustrations by Kalman also bring this world to life.
VERDICT An essential read for Jewish history and memoir fans. Stella is a compelling character for anyone to meet.
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