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The Accidental Caregiver: How I Met, Loved, and Lost Legendary Holocaust Refugee Maria Altmann

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  41 reviews
When thirty-two-year-old actor Gregor Collins reluctantly interviewed for a job as a caregiver more out of a favor to a friend--he had no idea his life was about to change forever.

The Accidental Caregiver charts Gregor's evolution from a self-absorbed artist to an adoring caregiver for Maria Altmann, the world-renowned Holocaust refugee from Austria. Seconds into their cha
Paperback, 376 pages
Published August 13th 2012 by Bloch-Bauer Books
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I.C. Camilleri
Wow, wow and wow again. This is a heartfelt memoir recounted in the deepest and most honest way and it wholly warmed my heart, my mind, my soul.
It begins with the story of a thirty-two -year-old actor in Hollywood and it sheds light on his difficult and sometimes disheartening life in that land of dreams. Contrary to what we think the sun does not always shine in that glittering land of glamour and sophistication. Circumstances force him to follow a path he never ever dreamed of taking, caregiv
This one snuck up on me. I hope you let The Accidental Caregiver: How I Met, Loved, and Lost Legendary Holocaust Refugee Maria Altmann sneak up on you too. This is a wonderful story about a vapid, superficial Hollywood actor wannabe and a holocaust escapee. Maria Altmann is the central figure, a daughter in a prominent Austrian Jewish family caught by the Anschluss. She escapes the holocaust that claims so many of her relatives and the confiscation of all their possessions. You will learn her st ...more
Geoff (G. Robbins) (The noisy passionfruit)
A Tale of warmth and love.

Whilst this is an autobiography of Gregor Collins’ experience of being a caregiver, it is also the biography of a short part of the life of an amazing person, Maria Altmann.

The range of this book is set at the end of Maria’s life, a time that many would consider to be the saddest of days, as the candle of life burns towards its inevitable end. However, life sometimes has a way of throwing a last, lucky, throw of the dice. So it is with the connection between Gregor and
Holly Weiss
Article first published as Book Review: The Accidental Caregiver by Gregor Collins on Blogcritics.

Are you yearning for an astounding story written with a passionate voice to take you away from your troubles? Look no further than this book.

Astonishing and assured, the memoir recounts both the years the author was caregiver to a remarkable woman and his life as an actor. “Acting found me, which is why I knew I couldn’t ignore it.” Admittedly self-absorbed, Collins writes honestly about the lonelin
Phil Brody
This book surprised me. Truth told, I did not think a story involving a caregiver, Holocaust survivor, and their unlikely bond would resonate with me. However, while speeding along in my rather self-involved LA-based life, I was pleasantly sideswiped, and for several hours a day, over a few days, I was immersed in this honest, heartfelt, and poignant story. And I'm thankful for that. I needed that. Long story short, I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone. Trust me, it's not what you t ...more
This book is written with such enthusiasm and humor that it's inspiring. The story embarked on a truly special journey between a care giver, Gregor Collins, and the love of his life, an elderly lady with a phenomenal past and an incredible spirit: Maria Altmann. Maria is a legendary Holocaust refugee, mother of four, and a spirited, passionate, and kind elderly woman who Gregor cares for for 3 years.

The story is beautifully written, funny, clever and heartfelt. The author transitions and grows a
Pam Warner
After having seen and loved the movie "Woman in Gold". I was anxious to read this book. What a wonderful person Mrs. Altman must have been. The book was interesting and gut wrenching. I enjoyed it very much!
Ellen Horan
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was not a biography of Maria Altmann, the subject of the movie "Woman in Gold" but was instead a very heartwarming personal account of the author's 'accidental' encounter with her. Clearly she was a fascinating woman, who still had so much love to give in her last years. The author shows us the value of getting to know the elderly, whether our own relatives, or those we encounter as neighbors or in our community. Our society has so long devalued the elderly, an ...more
Given To Me For An Honest Review

This book is about a young man who is trying his best to break out as an actor although it doesn't really seem like it's going his way right at the moment. He has a friend who needs someone to help him be a caregiver to an elderly woman during the day so that he can get off to work. At first he does not really enjoy it but as time goes by Maria is someone he loves to be with and just loves. She is a Holocaust survivor. She shares with him her stories and things th
Penny Martin
Awesome read! I loved it!!!!
I liked this book primarily because it filled in some of the blanks that exist in the story told in "Lady in Gold," -- a book about the first Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer and Maria Altmann's quest to recover it from the Austrian government. "Lady in Gold" is a spectacular (5-star) book, which I highly recommend. This book is not as good. It's more of a personal diary, which covers the last three years of Maria Altmann's life, while under the care (hence the title) of the author. It has an ...more
Nicole Holloway
From the very beginning, this book brings to the forefront the truly remarkable life of Maria Altmann. The tales of her escape from the Nazi's, her battle for justice and the circle of characters that formed her progeny, are simply fascinating. What is more interesting about this book, however, is the sincerity and passion of the writing. Even a mediocre talent likely could have written about Maria's life and made it palatable - she was just that amazing. But in this version we get to see her th ...more
Victor Brewer
Been reading a lot about this book and seeing that it's largely women speaking of being deeply touched by it. So as a guy I went into it with skeptical expectations and found that it really is genderless. Incredible story, both the Klimt painting part and the love story between Collins and Altmann. Altmann was one big giant breath of fresh air, and without Collins' courage and tenacity in sharing it we would never have seen any of it.
Jade Walker
"The Accidental Caregiver" is a charming book about a young, self-absorbed actor in L.A. who is utterly blindsided by an amazing, older woman. The fact that the woman in question was Maria Altmann, the world-renowned Holocaust refugee from Austria whose landmark case allowed her family to reclaim five paintings by the artist Gustav Klimt that were stolen by the Nazis during World War II, only made it that much easier to understand why he fell head over heels in love. Maria was such a spitfire th ...more
Mahree Moyle
Gregor Collins tells of his experience with Maria Altmann, the legendary Holocaust refugee. He writes from his heart. Maria changed his world view and priorities in life in just the short time they spent together. I’m guessing the role he played as caregiver was the most rewarding of any role he’s had or will have. Not only did Maria impact his life, but he made her last years special. Good story. Heart warming.
The basis of this memoir made this a memorable read, but the irregular chronology of events made it difficult to follow. I think that Collins did a good job of humanizing his relationship and experiences with Maria Altmann - from humor to sadness and everything in between. I found myself researching Maria Altmann and her family to get more a historical perspective - the stories are intriguing.
Theresa Pollara
Don't bother it's not a history of Maria Altman

From 25% to 50%, according to the Kindle book marking system, there is an interesting, but brief overview of Mrs. Layman's life. The rest is the rather rambling thoughts of a self centered want to be actor/writer. The photos are mostly of him posing. Wow.
Although it is an autobiography about Gregor, I enjoyed reading about Maria - a truly extraordinary woman - so I finished the book despite my distaste for the author.
I found Gregor to be the "typical actor" who is a classic name-dropper. It was tolerable and I grew to like him a bit more as it went on... and then there was a "selfie" of him lying next to Maria, at this point quite frail, in her own bed. What was his motive for taking a photo of himself in the delicate position of caring for (an
Maria is a very honest and sweet person. I enjoyed reading about her. I feel the novel could benefit some good editing and organization. I had a hard time grasping the whole point of the story. I kept waiting for the real story to begin...some climbing action, a climax, something. I guess I just felt like I was reading some ramblings from a caregiver. Sure, they had some neat experiences together, but the story lacked structure. Perhaps if I already knew of Maria's history, and admired her for i ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Brenda added it
A very good read. A true story about Maria Altmann. The woman
that sued Austria and got back 3 Klimt paintings that belonged to her uncle.
They were hanging in Austrian Museum for over 60 years, taken
by the Nazis.
Joyce Ferrante
The Accidental Caregiver was especially touching for me as I am currently going through some similar issues with my mother. I truely enjoyed reading about Gregor Collins relationship with Marie Altmann. The love they developed for each other and the extra-ordinary care he gave to Maria in her final years was inspiring. If only more elderly could have someone as kind, thoughtful, giving,..... as Gregor they'd be so much happier in their final years. I thank Gregor for sharing the years he spent w ...more
Loved It!

I loved getting to know Maria! What an amazing lady she must have been. I'm so glad that Gregory shared part of her story with us.
the caregiver

I couldn't put it down read it in one day I felt like I knew Maria and would like to know you
Lynda Kelly
Really wasn't sure about this book at all. I gave up at 23% as I found it quite an uncomfortable read, to be honest.
The author was taking care of a 92 year old lady and he was in his early thirties. Yet he mentions liking feeling her satiny bathrobe.....I found that inappropriate and a tad creepy. He writes like he was in love with her. All a little strange, I found.
I liked reading about Maria herself and what sounds a fascinating life she led, especially regarding the court battle to get the fa
This was a wonderful book about a special person, Maria Altmann and the man who became one of her caregivers, along with 2 or 3 others plus her family. Maria was a delightful person, so kind, forgiving ("even to those who don't deserve it") and at times bawdy and extremely funny! Imagine, a 93-year-old casually flipping the bird, and continuously flirting with handsome young men! Along the way, the author learned a lot about love, himself and I think Maria helped him clear a path to find true lo ...more
Diane Lybbert
Absolutely wonderful, engaging memoir. Collins, an actor in LA, is persuaded to help a friend by coming on as a caregiver for a 92-yr-old woman. Little does he suspect that he will become totally enthralled and enchanted by this elegan woman, an Austrian refugee from a wealthy family, surrounded by art, literature, and opera, only to escape Hitler's grip to end up in America. She is lively, loving, totally upbeat and optimistic, with stories to tell of great people and wonderful times. I loved t ...more
Thought this book was a bit choppy in places, was hard to keep characters straight.
Heartwarming and adds enough humor to it that it is a very uplifting biography. I wish I'd had the chance to meet Ms. Altmann by the end of the book. A great read about a beautiful soul and her relationship with her caregiver ( and the others in her life).

Definitely recommend this one!

In compliance with FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Kate Callahan
Fab book filled with history - great info regarding Gustav Klimt, a favorite artist of mine and how Maria Altmann sued Austria to get her family's paintings back after being stolen by the Nazis. Super book. Her caregiver and she form a bond that's heartbreaking and beautiful.
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Gregor is an actor, author, scriptwriter, and film and television producer living in New York. The stage adaptation of his acclaimed memoir The Accidental Caregiver: How I Met, Loved and Lost Legendary Holocaust Refugee Maria Altmann, will debut at the Robert Moss Theater in NYC on 01/26/15:
More about Gregor Collins...

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“Live your life somewhere in between Ayn Rand and Mother Theresa. It's just as important to better yourself as it is to better others.” 3 likes
“Talent is being unabashedly and unapologetically fearless in the work that you do. The only difference between having talent and not having talent is fear.” 2 likes
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