James's Reviews > A Mountain of Crumbs

A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova
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's review
Jan 15, 12

Read from January 13 to 15, 2012

I would never have read this had it not been my book club's selection for the month, but I was pleasantly surprised and moved by what turned out to be a very unusual memoir. Author Gorokhova layers her story like an episodic novel giving us bits and pieces of her upbringing in communist Russia. This was not the damnation of this particular time and place that I expected, though. What I found most moving was the inner conflict she experiences between the life she knows, which provides for her but leaves no room for self-expression and the promise of a freer but riskier life in America. Unfortunately, she is sometimes held back by the genre's limitations. The scenes involving her blossoming sexuality and her first pangs of love and disappointment are clichéd but necessary in a coming-of-age story. Still her beautifully written prose more than makes up for it --and offers the gentle reminder that there has yet to be form of government that works, all we can do is support the one that works best.
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