A Penny Always Has Two Sides
By Steffie Steinke
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 5 stars
This memoir of growing up in wartime Germany during World War II shows not only the author’s personal journey, but also a side of the war not known by those who learned of it solely from the history books. This woman’s personal history shares a truer and more terrifying story of what happened in Germany at this time – from before, during and after the war.
Parallel to the turmoil of the times is the turmoil through which this young woman lived in her personal family life. She had alternating periods in her life with her birth mother and foster mother, with the resultant conflict and confusion in her sense of self and identity. Mostly she lived a torn life, in fear with one and in unconditional comforting love with the other, as history and the war tore Germany into two.
Readers travel with the author from one mother to the other and from home in Berlin, to Poland, and eventually back to home in post war West Berlin before on to Canada for a new way of life. Yes, a penny does always have two sides, as do all people and all situations in life.
A compassionate human story, this book is for everyone who wants to understand better both the ravages of war and the conflicts in family life.