Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir” as Want to Read:
Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  41 reviews
History was repeating itself when Annette Gendler fell in love with a Jewish man in Germany in 1985. Her Great-Aunt Resi had been married to a Jew in Czechoslovakia before World War II--a marriage that, while happy, created tremendous difficulties for the extended family once the Nazis took over their hometown in 1938, and ultimately did not survive the pressures of the ti ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by She Writes Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jumping Over Shadows, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jumping Over Shadows

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  100 ratings  ·  41 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jan Rice
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have to jump over my own shadow here, and I don't know if I can do that. But I will try.

This is the memoir of a German woman who, in the 1980s, in her early 20s, falls in love with Harry, a young Jewish man. This is more than just an infatuation; it's for real, and they never really look back. Something like this had happened in her family previously, as her Great Aunt Resi had married a Jew back in the 1920s. That may have set a precedent, since if her family had difficulty coping with thei
Janilyn Kocher
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book fascinating. The author compares her story of marrying and converting to Judaism with the story of her great aunt whose marriage to a Jew caused problems in the 1930s. I was actually astounded to read how controversial the author's relationship and marriage was, for both sides of the family, during the 1980s. A great tale!
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I met the author of this book and was so taken with her, I couldn't wait to read the book. It did not disappoint. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction and the way family stories weave over generations has always fascinated me. Highly recommend.
Erika Dreifus
Grateful for an advance review copy that I read in preparation for a Q&A with the author. You'll find that piece here:
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 out of 5 stars
Kathleen Pooler
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In a love-conquers–all story, Annette Gendler takes the reader through the complexities and sacrifices of marriage between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man. Ms. Gendler skillfully interweaves the multi-layered story of her great-aunt who defied tradition and married a Jewish man in World War II Germany-- sending repercussions into the next generation--with her own love story.

It is in this seamless interweaving of generational stories that she shows the impact of Nazi Germany upon subsequent gen
D Schneider
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jumping Over Shadows is a memoir that immediately captures and holds the reader, and reading it in one sitting is almost an imperative. As the reader follows the blossoming relationship between the author and her then boyfriend, a German Jewish boy in love with a Christian girl, it is immediately apparent that the challenges of inter-religious dating and marriage are timeless. Take this captivating journey with Annette Gendler as she delves into her past, confronts her present, and creates a fut ...more
Deb Lecos
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jumping Over Shadows is a powerful and creative telling of the author falling in love with a Jewish man, their eventual marriage, and her conversion to Judaism. Ms. Gendler layers this narrative with the story of her Great Aunt Resi’s marriage to a Jew, just prior to the Nazi takeover of Germany. The author answers the question “Is there any form of love not worth fighting for?” She takes a reader on a journey through her introduction to the Jewish faith and her own questions about what she beli ...more
Story Circle Book Reviews
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I typically choose memoirs that I can relate to in some way, but freely admit to choosing Jumping Over Shadows by Annette Gendler because of the love story I expected to find within its pages. Having experienced true love in my own marriage, I enjoy reading about other couple's relationship stories, particularly those that must overcome some obstacle. In this instance, the obstacle was a difference in faith.

What I didn't expect, however, was such rich historical detail of Jewish tradition and fa
Debi Lantzer
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book, Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir by Annette Gendler, from BookSparks in connection with their spring book tour, "It's Raining Books".  Unfortunately for me, somehow this book and another one fell to the bottom of a pile of books I had already read and reviewed, and I never noticed it until I was cleaning the book cabinet to make room for more!  While I missed the BookSparks' tour, I still wanted to share the book with readers so they'd know they could run out and pick it up f ...more
Cindy Roesel
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Annette Gendler tells her personal story in her memoir, JUMPING OVER SHADOWS(SheWritesPress). When Annette falls in love with a Jewish man in Germany in 1985, history is repeating itself; her great-aunt Resi had been married to a Jew in Czechoslovakia before World War II. That marriage, while happy, meant tremendous difficulties for the extended family, once the Nazis took over their hometown.

While Resi’s marriage did not withstand the pressures of “the Nazi times,” Annette and Harry’s love was
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A smartly written memoir about the author's life as a young educated German woman who unexpectedly falls in love with Harry, a German Jewish man, the child of Holocaust survivors. They keep their relationship secret for a very long time, not wanting to upset Harry's parents, and also striving to avoid the social discomfort among the close-knit Jewish community where they live in Germany.
But as Annette begins to encounter casual anti-Semitism among her friends, she realizes it's time to make her
Rita Dragonette
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Annette Gendler’s personal tale of jumping over the shadows of the pasts of both she and the man she loves to fearlessly forge a new future is a unique and compelling view of history you only thought you knew. As a German woman falling for a Jew from a family of still-raw war wounds, this is part Romeo and Juliet, part Shindler’s List, but more profoundly a deeply serious story of a journey that had to happen. Daunted and yet emboldened by the experiences of a star-crossed German/Jewish match in ...more
Barbara Ridley
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A fascinating, well-written memoir about the author's relationship with a Jewish man and her conversion to Judaism, while she explores the ramifications of her own family's history. The narrative moves back and forth between her own romance, beginning when she met her husband-to-be in Germany in the 1980's, and the historical tale of her great-aunt who married a Jew in Czechoslovakia in the 1930's. For many years, Gendler is forced to hide her relationship from her finance's family of Holocaust ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Annette and Harry fall in love in Munich in the 1980s. Only problem: she's German and Catholic; he is a Jew. The couple hides the romance from Harry's family for three years until they are ready to marry. They address Harry's parents forthrightly, overcoming obstacles the older generation lays in their path. Annette has found her man, and Harry has found his woman. It's the stuff of fairy tales.
But the book--at heart--is about Annette, her focus and determination to make things work. In conver
I'm really disappointed that I didn't like this better. It came very highly recommended by a member of my book club, but it really just didn't do it for me :-(. I personally found the first half too much and very much wrapped up in names that I got confused in. I used a combination of flat out reading and text-to-speech to read this book, and I suppose that could have been a partial source of my disappointment in the book, but I doubt it. I liked that Annette felt the desire and requirement to c ...more
Melanie Faith
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully-candid and well-written memoir. I had the joy of discovering this book about a week ago on Amazon and then realized that I met the author a few times when we were both MFA students in the same creative writing program at Queens University of Charlotte. I admired her writing then and I admire it even more now. Well-researched and compelling work. If you like family histories (especially set in Europe and including WWII up through the 1980s and beyond), books about Germany an ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The story of the past is only interesting in as far as it resonates in the present." This is a really interesting memoir by a local Chicago author. The daughter of an American mother and a German father, she was raised in Munich, Germany. In 1985 she met and fell in love with a Jewish man, who was also raised in Munich, and they kept their relationship and plans for marriage a secret for 3 years. Gendler weaves her story together with the story of her parents, grandparents and great-grandparent ...more
Elise Schiller
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this memoir tremendously. Gendler weaves her story with the story of her great-aunt. Both of them fell in love with and married Jewish men, her great-aunt prior to the Nazis, and herself in post-war Germany. The difficulties surrounding these relationships form the "conflict" in the book, and yet the story has a quiet and steady tone. Ms. Gendler comes across as strong and purposeful, but always concerned about the feelings and well-being of those impacted by her choices. There are sat ...more
Reyna Gentin
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting to be able to relate to this memoir about a young German woman who falls in love with a Jewish man in the 1980's in Germany, defying the wishes of his family. But this is much more than a story about an enduring and deep love; it is about defying the odds and turning one's whole life around. The author's journey is about more than her personal relationship, it is a transformation in a religious context as well. It is about commitment to a person, to oneself, and to God. I foun ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jumping Over Shadows is a thoughtful story of love and faith, as well as the difficulties that both can cause across generations. Annette Gendler intertwines her own journey with that of her great aunt, set against the backdrops of World War II and its fallout. In addition to their romances and consequent hurdles, the reader is treated to an important and beautifully told history of the pre- and post-WWII treatment of the European Jewish population. A compelling read.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jumping Over Shadows is a captivating, deeply personal story of the journey the author as a young German/American woman in her relationship with a Jewish man, and also the story of her grandparents and forbears during the Nazi regime in what is now the Czech Republic. The stories are alive with discovery, mystery, and growth and they pulled me along even beyond my fascination with identity and it's relationship to history. There is much heart in this beautiful book!
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
Annette Gendler, born a Catholic, tells the true story of how she met her husband, a German Jew in 1985. Born to an American mother and German father, the author grew up in Germany and met Harry, whose family included Holocaust survivors. We learn the history of both families, and the author's journey as she converts to Judaism. Written well, this is a very good read.
Emily Dagostino
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this beautiful and compelling memoir in three days. The writing is honest and clear. The story of love and history is captivating, and illustrates what it's like to be, and to become, a minority. In my lifetime, the lessons and perspective this book generously imparts have never been more important to understand. I highly recommend it.
Nancy Chadwick
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A journey in finding her place to be, Gendler succinctly unfolds her story in the wake of her own ancestry dating back to pre-World War II. Extensive research is shown in her writing and in the end her interwoven reflections and self-examination bring her to her true home, with her husband Harry and with Judaism.
Cyon, Selma Luisa Rubiniak
Marvellous, touching!!!!

Love it. Love the writings about the feelings toward conversion. Planning to go after my parent's roots, polish Holocaust survivors.
Rivka Levy
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A pacey memoir with enough twists and turns to keep you up reading. Really enjoyed this book.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written memoir of families that parallel each other and are connected through time and events.
Emanuel Kahana
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know the family and I like them, but I didn’t know their story. Now I like them even more. Interesting and well written.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Left to the Mercy of a Rude Stream: The Bargain That Broke Adolf Hitler and Saved My Mother
  • Primo Levi's Resistance: Rebels and Collaborators in Occupied Italy
  • My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew
  • Invisible Sisters
  • Justice at Nuremberg
  • Rodzinna historia lęku
  • You Saved Me, Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me about Living, Dying, Fighting, Loving, and Swearing in Yiddish
  • Where Memory Leads: My Life
  • The Holocaust: History & Memory
  • Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance
  • The Temple Bombing
  • The Nazi Titanic: The Incredible Untold Story of a Doomed Ship in World War II
  • The Struggle for Europe
  • Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film
  • The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah
  • The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust
  • Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir
  • The Boys: The Story of 732 Young Concentration Camp Survivors
See similar books…
“The Queen of the Night opens its blossom only once, at night. By midnight it is in full bloom, and by morning it is gone. And it smells wonderful.” Indeed, the Queen of the Night unfolded its white cup into a blossom that reminded Herta of a daisy, only smaller and bushier. Some of its petals hung down like a fringy skirt. They all sat about in the Stube, nibbling on cookies and sipping tea. Every few minutes, someone checked on the Queen of the Night. The Uncle had his camera out and moved it this way and that on the tripod, the lens pointed toward the blossom. “No one near it, please,” he admonished them. “I need a lot of exposure; I don’t want to use a flash.” Resi sniffed the air. “Hmm, I can already smell it.” The kids insisted on staying until midnight even though they were feeling drowsy. At midnight, the blossom was wide open and an intensely haunting scent filled the room. Herta wasn’t sure she liked it.” 0 likes
“midnight it is in full bloom, and by morning it is gone.” 0 likes
More quotes…