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You Are Not Like Other Mothers
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You Are Not Like Other Mothers

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  158 ratings  ·  33 reviews
You Are Not Like Other Mothers is the story of Else Krischner, a free spirited mother of three sons. The novel spans the first half of the 20th century, from World War I through the Jewish Else’s exile in Bulgaria during World War II. Multi-layered and epic in scope, the narrative incorporates numerous sub-plots and secondary characters to provide a richly rendered portrai ...more
Paperback, 535 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Europa Editions (first published January 1st 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 493)
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Cynthia Mcarthur
You Are Not Like Other Mothers is a simple title for a book that is neither simple fiction nor dry enough to be called non-fiction. Instead it is a narrative vacuum into which the reader is sucked along with the author’s thoughtful (if belated) understanding of her flighty, pleasure-seeking mother, Else, and those who lived in Else’s world.

A middle-class Jewish girl in pre-WWI Berlin, Else, to her parents’ horror, loved Christmas trees; as a new wife and mother, she elopes with the moody, artist
...more
Tuck
a family saga of german jews revolving around Else 1909-1949, who as a young woman decided to break all conventions, and if it became so, to have a baby with all her different lovers. she had 3 children from 3 different "husbands", and reveled in the world of art, dance , and music. her third man, goody, and their daughter, angeli, was mom's jackpot of sorts, herr dr schrobsdorff was very very rich, which allowed else to live the life she wanted. then a certain insane dictator took over. she and ...more
Todor Zed
Impressive! It is really strange this book isn't more popular. I found it gripping to read about what I consider the worst event in human history from a very "inner" perspective and to follow the journey of the heroine from ultimate happiness and freedom to total destruction. What made it even more intriguing to me personally, was the fact that the events all take place in cities I've lived in for years or visited many times, including my hometown of Sofia. There are multiple accurate observatio ...more
Peter Jakobs
This book covers the life of a Jewish German woman from the years 1900 to 1949, written-up by her daughter. Her life can be split into 3 phases:
1: growing-up in a non-orthodox middle-class family in Berlin eager to escape from this milieu and entering the more modern Christian way of life
2: enjoying a luxurary life with Christian men, having 3 kids from 3 different fathers
3: experiencing the political pressure against her and her family in Nazi-Germany, emigration to Bulgaria, German army in Bul
...more
Susan
Much of the criticism of this book is valid. It jumps from third to first person and back again. There are no chapters, and the story seems to ramble, tediously for some readers. So, yes, the story could have been edited and presented in a more effective fashion.

The story itself is fascinating. Although the book is categorized as fiction, it appears to loosely follow the author's mother's life. I'm guessing that much of it is true and accurate, and it was designated as fiction for those parts wh
...more
Josh
Angelika Schrobsdorff’s “You Are Not Like Other Mothers” is not like any book I have read in some time. Telling the story of the author’s mother as she lived in the first half of the twentieth century in Germany, Schrobsdorff equally combines memoir, fiction and letters between Angelika’s mother and her friends and family. Note: by fiction, I mean reconstruction of events the author was either too young to remember or not alive or present for. Others have found the blending of narrative styles ...more
Bookslut
This book had a slow start, and I probably wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't been stuck without another option for a few days.

That being said, I'm really glad I stayed the course. The book, which was filed in the fiction section of the library, reads more like a biography (I believe this is a fictionalized account of the author's mother's life, drawn from the mother's written correspondence and the author's memories). I felt really drawn in by this woman's life, and got a very different per
...more
Julia
Fascinating and heartbreaking novel that spans German-Jewish history from the 1920s to the present. The mother in question is a free spirit whose quest for love eclipses all other concerns. With three children by three different men, she finds herself without protection during the rise of Hitler. The most striking thing about the novel to me is the author's effective depiction of how well-off Jews failed to recognize the danger posed by Nazism until they became prisoners within their country. Th ...more
Elizabeth Lind


It was interesting that one of the reviewers compared it to Gone With the Wind. This woman was a little bit Scarlett O'Hara like. I didn't like her at all...she was incredibly self-absorbed. It was interesting the way the author allowed the final section of the book to speak for itself. She lets the reader make up her own
Mind about her and about her mother.
Catherine
This midsection of this book could have used some editing. It rambles on and on. But the story on the whole was interesting.
Shannon Stevens
I just can't bring myself to finish this book. Dont' care about the characters at all.
Amy
Else's unconventional life in 1920s Berlin probably ends up saving her during the war. This is more family memoir than fiction (my library filed it under fiction). The author/narrator is the youngest of Else's three children. An interesting and memorable story, told in an odd, raggedy way.

The best parts of the book were the years of exile in Sofia, Bulgaria. Both in character development and writing, I was most engaged when Else and her family were most uprooted. It was also very interesting to
...more
Anna Fierce
Aug 13, 2012 Anna Fierce rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: World War II and Gone with the Wind fans
Check out my blog for more extensive reviews and more!

PROS: This story was very interesting. The author is a contemporary and reading a World War II story from the perspective of German Jews was very interesting. The writing was very well done and the attitudes were, I imagine, very similar to those of people in those days.

CONS: The characters were not very relatable, I thought. I didn't particularly enjoy the first third of the book and I found the mother in the story very spoiled and annoying.
...more
Margaret
You Are Not Like Other Mothers was lauded as the German Gone with the Wind in the front flap description, so I was a bit unsure (I do not like Gone With the Wind). This fictionalized memoir (or novel based on the author's life depending on the interpretation) focuses on the early 20th century in Germany, and the life of Else, who wants to experience the most different elements of German society from her own Jewish upbringing. She continually frustrates convention, choosing to live her life th ...more
maven
I didn't realize that this was a fictionalized account of the author's family, focusing on her mother. I was expecting a novel, so I was a little disappointed with the book as a result.

The initial part of the book, maybe the first 150 pages or so, went along well enough. I actually liked the jumping between past and present, mainly because it was better done than in other books that have attempted it.

Unfortunately, my interest in the people and what happened to them petered out, around the time
...more
Kaitlyn
I know this says that I read it, but honestly, I couldn't finish it. I read about half of it and called it quits. And I was reading it for a book club and everything! I tried to keep an open mind about it, but the writing style made it very inaccessible for me. It was told through a narrator's perspective, never hearing the inner thoughts of any of the character and had very little dialogue. As a character/dialogue junkie, I couldn't do it. I'm sorry to give up on you, book!
Martine
Es ist nicht schlecht geschrieben oder so, aber eben einfach nicht die Art von Buch, die ich gerne lese. Wer sich für Biografien über Überlebende des zweiten Weltkriegs interessiert könnte daran mehr Gefallen finden. Es ist durchaus interessant zu lesen, wie Flüchtlinge auch nach dem Verlassen von Deutschland zu kämpfen hatten und wie sie diese schlimme Zeit durchgestanden haben.
Aosta


Again, there was more to learn about WW Ii. While this memoir, which read like fiction, takes us from Berlin to Bulgaria, and back again, it mostly chronicals the life of a self indulgent German Jewish woman and her family. I think the writer was trying to understand and get closer to her mother through writing this book. It was a compelling read though, all 535 pages.
Marvin
I thought this novel might give me a flavor of life in Germany during the Weimar period (I've read lots about the Holocaust but not much about this earlier period), but I'm 100 pages in, and the social/cultural/political setting is glossed over, while the main characters are tedious, so I'm bailing out, rather than invest the time to read another 415 pages of this.
Elke Koepping
Tolles Buch, großartig erzählt. Die Zeit zwischen den Weltkriegen: eine lebenslustige Frau aus dem oberen Bürgertum in Berlin. In der Nazizeit Verfolgung und Emigration nach Bulgarien. Aufgezeichnet von ihrer Tochter nach eigenen Erinnerungen, Gesprächen mit Freunden und Freundinnen und Briefen. Absolut lesenswert.
Danielle
i won't rate this b/c I only got half way through. I liked what I read - interesting woman, interesting story, good writing - but it was just too much. Halfway through I felt like I was being hit over the head with the same story over and over. It just wasn't that interesting to make a book that long....
Emerald
Such an interesting story. It provides a glimpse into what type of culture allowed the Third Reich to take power, along with what the roaring 20's were all about. Also I found the war time and post war recovery interesting as well. It is a tragic story. I cried at parts.
Thomas Propest
What a beautiful read. This is the perfect christmas vacation book, cozied up by the fireplace with a cup of chai tea :) I would call this the German equivalent of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", a classic which if you haven't read you should read as well.
Leslie Hall
This is one of those rare books I really did pick up for its cover. The color is so pretty and the image lovely. And it's long! You can settle in and read for a good long time. I didn't though--the story is so compelling that I read as fast as I could.
Nicola


An interesting account of pre and immediately post-war Germany, albeit from a highly privileged point of view - possibly should be read in conjunction with Hans Fallada to provide a balance. I fear it suffers in translation.
Caroline
I would like to be generous and blame the translation of this text for my disliking it so much, but I don't think it's the case. This book is a fictionalized account of the author's mothers life, and frankly I just didn't care.
Yuliana
Fascinating story that makes up for the stilted writing. One of the most perplexing aspects of the book is the writer using the third voice while writing about herself then switching back to the first with no explanation.
Brandon Floyd
Painfully paced, and tediously repetitive. "Other Mothers" moves along beautifully for the first 200 or so pages, then becomes almost unbearable for the duration.
Ruthie
I highly recommend this book. Very well written and a moving, emotional story.
Diana Eberhardt
It was okay, but did not live up to the reviews.
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