This title is not available in our membership service

We’re working with the publisher to make it available as soon as possible.

Request Title
“There are places that I have never forgotten. A little cobbled street in a smoky mill town in the North of England has haunted me for the greater part of my life. It was inevitable that I should write about it and the people who lived on both sides of its ‘Invisible Wall.’ ”The narrow street where Harry Bernstein grew up, in a small English mill town, was seemingly unremarkable. It was identical to countless other streets in countless other working-class neighborhoods of the early 1900s, except for the “invisible wall” that ran down its center, dividing Jewish families on one side from Christian families on the other. Only a few feet of cobblestones separated Jews from Gentiles, but socially, it they were miles apart.On the eve of World War I, Harry’s family struggles to make ends meet. His father earns little money at the Jewish tailoring shop and brings home even less, preferring to spend his wages drinking and gambling. Harry’s mother, devoted to her children and fiercely resilient, survives on her dreams: new shoes that might secure Harry’s admission to a fancy school; that her daughter might marry the local rabbi; that the entire family might one day be whisked off to the paradise of America.Then Harry’s older sister, Lily, does the unthinkable: She falls in love with Arthur, a Christian boy from across the street. When Harry unwittingly discovers their secret affair, he must choose between the morals he’s been taught all his life, his loyalty to his selfless mother, and what he knows to be true in his own heart.A wonderfully charming memoir written when the author was ninety-three, The Invisible Wall vibrantly brings to life an all-but-forgotten time and place. It is a moving tale of working-class life, and of the boundaries that can be overcome by love.From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Readers Circle an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
List price: $14.00
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for The Invisible Wall; A Love Story That Broke Barriers
    Harry Bernstein was a writer all his life, but didn't enjoy success as a writer until 2007 when he published his first memoir, THE INVISIBLE WALL. He was 96 years old when the book came out. It was translated into a few other languages and became an immediate sentimental favorite. It covers Harry's life from his earliest memories, ages 4-12. It is a compelling personal look at the divide between the Christian and Jewish families on one dirt poor street in an English manufacturing town. Harry's memories are acutely personal and often heartbreaking to read, as his family was desperately poor and his father was something of a brute. At first Harry was the youngest of five, then when he was ten, another brother was born. It's a coming-of-age story. It's a star-crossed love story. It's, it's ... Ah, what the hell. I could tell you more, but ... It's a memoir, okay? And one of the best I have ever read (and I've read a lot of 'em). My wife read it first, and zoomed through it in just a couple days. Got me curious. Me too. Two days. It's that good, it's that moving, it's that much of a page-turner that it will keep you awake into the wee hours wanting to know what happens next. And now that I've finished it, I still want to know what happened next. Because, oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. Harry wrote THREE MORE memoirs in the next few years. (Bernstein died in 2011 at the age of 101.) I've ordered the next two, THE DREAM and THE GOLDEN WILLOW, and can't wait to read them. The other one, as far as I know, has not yet been published, at least not in English. Harry Bernstein was one hell of a good writer. This is a TEN-STAR book. I give it my highest recommendation.more
    Invisible Wall is about two groups of people living on a down trodden street in pre WW1 England. Jews on one side Gentiles on the other. Separating the two an invisible wall, that is breached on rare, but necessary occasions. That is until a Romeo and Juliet situation arises. The memoir is written by the now 97 year old brother. The writing style and number of characters took me a number of pages to get used to, but then I was hooked. Reading until late into the night, wanting/needing to see how it all went. I was not disappointment. I hope Harry Bernstein lives a lot longer and write many more books.more
    When I got to the end of this book, I was thinking, "I really liked it, but that ending just wasn't believable. Never happen that way." And then I realized that I wasn't reading a novel, but a memoir. It did happen that way. This is a wonderful story that explores the wall between the Jewish and Christian neighbors on a street in an impoverished English town in the early 20th century. It's also a story of love: the central question of the book asks whether or not love can overcome that invisible wall. And in the meantime, it gives fascinating insight into the lives of real people in a place and time not really so far away. Highly recommended.more
    The Invisible Wall, begins when Harry Bernstein was four years old.Harry was raised in the English mill town of Stockport. His father worked in a tailor shop, while his mother struggled to feed, clothe, and educate their children. Much of his father's meager salary went for his drinking and gambling, and the family was poorer than most. The family were observant Jews, whose life revolved around the Sabbath and Holy Days.The street the family lived on was populated with similar families. The Jews lived on one side of the street, and the Christians lived on the other. Down the middle of the street runs the "invisible wall" of the title. Except for attending the same schools and frequenting each others' shops, the Christians and Jews had little to do with one another. When one Jewish girl fell in love with an unsuitable Christian boy, her family shipped her off to a relative in Australia. While there was some animosity between the two sides of the street, the families mostly co-existed in an uneasy peace.Life changes, however, during the Great War. The families rely on each other for news of the war and of their sons. All mourn when a son is killed or wounded.When the soldiers return from the War, the budding relationship between Harry's sister Lily and the Christian neighbor Arthur Forshaw blossoms. Harry becomes Lily's co-conspirator in her trysts with Arthur.There are many poignant scenes in The Invisible Wall. This memoir reminded me of Angela's Ashes. The ignorance and poverty of both families was strikingly similar, but The Invisible Wall was much more focused on the relationships between the Christians and Jews than the fact of the poverty.This book tells a very sad, but true story. As in Angela's Ashes, the redemption comes from the author's successful life in America, a stark contrast to its meager beginningmore
    I love Harry. Harry, at 96 years old, writes so beautifully not missing a moment in this memorable tale he is telling. It is so inspiring to see what a little courage did to change the lives of so many. Well done. A wonderful story of a life full of challenges and overcoming bigotry.more
    There are so many amazing aspects to The Invisible Wall, the first of three volumes of a memoir by Harry Bernstein, I am not sure where to start. I guess the most amazing fact I learned was that it is never too late to write your story. Mr. Bernstein started this first book at the age of 96. Almost unbelievable given the clarity of the story. His memory of the pain, poverty, and racism that prevailed in his early life is still as vivid in his writing as it must have been then.He retells the story of his life as well as the lives of his families from his first memories of being brought up in a small mill town in England where the segregation is block by half block. Jews on one side of the street and Christians on the other side of the street. They seem to interact only on Friday evenings when the Christians will help them by coming into their homes to light their fires after sundown for the sabbath evening meal. With the bleak weather, bleak living conditions, bleak education options for the Jewish children, this could easily be a very bleak story but it is in fact a story filled with love, a son's love for his mother, a daughter's love of her Christian neighbor, and a mother's love for her family that enables her to rise above huge obstacles, the largest being her alcoholic, abusive husband. The backdrop of all of these smaller stories is the story of England during World War I. The Great War seems to be a uniting factor in some ways for all the families of this small town but it is not enough to overcome many of the roadblocks between the different factions residing there. I am ready to dive into the second volume of Mr. Bernstein's life as he immigrates to the United States and finds his way. Be uplifted and read this amazing story of life and how giving up was not in the vocabulary of the Bernstein family.more
    The invisible wall in the book title describes the division of peoples on the street where young Harry was boy. It divided the Jews living on one side of the street from the Christians living on the opposite side of the street. Of course, this line or wall was invisible because rather than being built of cement or wood, it was built by the prejudices of the two religions represented on either side of the street. Very enjoyable read!!more
    Beautifully written memoir by Harry Bernstein at 93 years old recalling his life growing up (beginning at 4 years old) in the ghettos of England; the street was divided with Jews on one side and Christians on the other. The cultural divisions, dependencies, and interactions are so well described, you can envision the neighborhood and its residents. It takes a constant reminder that you're not reading a novel.more
    This was a nice story. Not a terribly gripping novel, but so wonderfully descriptive.more
    At first, I wasn't exactly looking forward to reading this book. Sure, it sounded interesting and very intriguing. It was after all a book based on a true story, a memoir, about a young Jewish boy, growing up in a poor society that has been divided by religion and culture. It also features a forbidden love story between a Jewish girl and a Christian boy. I get easily emotional and affected you see. And as a defence mechanism, I avoid things that would make me sad. Not the kind of sad as in I'll be crying but the kind of sad in which my heart will ache, my thoughts will race and I'll think about others around me.The beginning of this book was not very special. It introduced the story, the family and the street. I read it slowly and slowly. It was a good story but nothing special but I continued to read and next thing I know, I am hooked. I cannot put it down for the characters have taken a toll of me and I want to know what will happen. How will this all end? I cannot see a resolution. Can they? So I read until past midnight. I read until I finished it and had that familiar feeling of ecstatic exhaustion of when you've finished a book that truly gave a good reading experience and touched you. Some things affected me, particularly the behaviour of certain characters - they made me think of my own family and that's what I also found special. Even though the characters portrayed are from completely different worlds, setting, time and religion, I could still feel and see the similarities that still go on in this world and I could sympathize and empathize for characters. For example, the portrayal of the mother and her sad and unfortunate life made me go to my own mother and give her a hug. I don't think some characters have brought such a strong reaction from me in...well, a while.In overall, the book brought up several big themes. It dealt with the dysfunction of a poor family in which the mother is repressed and forced to try make the best of living for her children whilst their father spend the majority of his small salary at the pub. There was the hint of that American dream, that idea of a trip to a large nation that would change their lives for good. There was war, but not from the viewpoint of a solider fighting for his life, but from the people, separated by an invisible barrier, waiting on the edge to find out the news whether their loved ones is in the grave or not. There is the girl who studies all day in order to gain admission to a school, only to have her dream shattered by her own patronizing and hard father. There is the girl who daydreams and wishes for the couture, elegant and luxury life on the other side of the town and despises anyone to interrupt her daze. There's the constant whispering and gossiping of women in a small shop. There is that young couple who believes their forbidden and dangerous union will change the world. But the most central thing; the segregation, prejudice and division of two religion living right across each others, strengthen by differences, clashes and contentment but reduced by war, poverty and a common thing. And above all, the narrator, a lost little growing boy who only wishes to please others and himself and who is aware of consequences but oblivious to the reasons.more
    The Invisible Wall By Harry Bernstein The year is 1910, Harry is a young boy growing up in a small mill town in England. One side of the street is Jewish, the other Christian. They are all poor.They all struggle, war is approaching, they dream of America. There is an invisible wall. This beautifully written memoir details his family, with 6 children and a street full of characters. A lot has changed in the world and in other ways human nature has not evolved at all. Harry began writing this memoir at 93, published at 96. He is currently 100 and works on another. Enjoy this historical journey that is not to be missed.more
    A simple lovely story of growing up in poverty. Please God I can write like that, and remember, when I am 93. I cried like a baby when he returned home after all those years. Harry will be 100 in 2 months, hope he will reach the 120more
    The Invisible Wall is a vivid portrait of a young Jewish boy and his life in England in the early 1900s. Beautifully written, this memoir by Harry Bernstein tells of his life in a working class mill town, on a street which is divided by religion. He and his Jewish neighbors live on one side; the Christians live on the other. A powerful tale of prejudice and tolerance, hatred and passion, poverty and the richness of love, the book is both heartbreaking and joyous. More than a glimpse of the author’s life, the reader is absorbed into his world and comes to know well all the memorable people in it. Highly recommended, this is a book that will be remembered.more
    Somehow, the first pages didn't encourage me. The extremely simple voice made me wonder whether his writing style was going to become tedious. The opening paragraphs made me think "uh oh, another 300 page whine about oppression." I don't know why...just my mood, perhaps.It didn't really matter. Within a few pages more those thoughts had flown and I was simply reading. The simple writing style did not become tedious. The whines about oppression never appeared—in fact, there was never any whining about anything in a life that held more than its share of hardship.At age 95, Harry Bernstein wrote his first book, a memoir of his life in a poor Lancashire mill town. Part of the story is about poverty, about a family with so little money that buying any food was, sometimes, a major problem. Part of it is about the trap of too little education and opportunity. More of the story is about the invisible wall—the divide that stretched up the middle of his street: all the houses on one side rented by Christians, all the houses on his side rented by Jews.What I liked most about this book was that he simply recounted the stories, not particularly taking sides or drawing "larger meaning" from things. We see that, yes, there was a lot of anti-Semitism in the neighborhood but, at the same time, we see bigotry directed against the Christians with equal clarity and force. The subtitle of the book is "A Love Story that Broke Barriers" and the much of the story focuses on a romance that crossed that wall. The author doesn't try to create a lot of suspense in the story; the reader can predict much of what will happen long before it actually occurs. However, I didn't find this objectionable—he simply tells the story in the chronology that his young self was able to understand or realize things and allows the adult reader to see ahead.I understand there is a sequel picking up the next phase of his life after his family came to America. I don't know if I'll read it or not; it might be better to just leave things where they ended, allowing the epilogue of the book to let us know how everything turned out.Definitely recommended. I'm waffling between 3½ stars and a "strongly recommended" 4 stars. I'll start conservatively but may change my mind later.more
    Unfiltered or shaped into story; too like Angela’s Ashes but not nearly as well done. Strays off theme, though many interesting anecdotes, especially around British poor experience of WWI. My Book Club liked it better than I did, insisted on my finishing, and refused to "spoil" the ending, but in part and whole it failed to live up.more
    This is a heart-rending memoir, set in the early 1900s, near Manchester England. A young Jewish boy growing up in a tough working class neighborhood, dealing with poverty, a brutal father, and antisemitism. It's a strong memoir, in a similar style and subject matter as [Angela's Ashes].more
    A stunning memoir. In his nineties, Bernstein recalls his fascinating childhood in a small town in England on the eve of WWI. With rich historical detail he describes his street, with poor Jewish people on one side and poor Christian people on the other. Despite very similar lives, their strong religious beliefs and traditions kept them apart. Bernstein tells the story of love and marriage between his older sister and one of the Christian boys across the street, and how their union was able to bring the neighbors some unity and hope, in the midst of their losses to the war and their relentless struggles with poverty. A wonderful read.more
    great britain during WWI, jews and gentiles separated by religion and superstition. great story,more
    Bernstein wrote this memoir of his childhood at age 93, and it comes across so fresh. It's not often that you read a book about a Jewish family in WWII England rather than WWII Germany, and the love story was just wonderful. The "invisible wall" was the street that divided the Jewish side from the Christian side, and the story was interesting and very well-told.more
    Read all 24 reviews

    Reviews

    Harry Bernstein was a writer all his life, but didn't enjoy success as a writer until 2007 when he published his first memoir, THE INVISIBLE WALL. He was 96 years old when the book came out. It was translated into a few other languages and became an immediate sentimental favorite. It covers Harry's life from his earliest memories, ages 4-12. It is a compelling personal look at the divide between the Christian and Jewish families on one dirt poor street in an English manufacturing town. Harry's memories are acutely personal and often heartbreaking to read, as his family was desperately poor and his father was something of a brute. At first Harry was the youngest of five, then when he was ten, another brother was born. It's a coming-of-age story. It's a star-crossed love story. It's, it's ... Ah, what the hell. I could tell you more, but ... It's a memoir, okay? And one of the best I have ever read (and I've read a lot of 'em). My wife read it first, and zoomed through it in just a couple days. Got me curious. Me too. Two days. It's that good, it's that moving, it's that much of a page-turner that it will keep you awake into the wee hours wanting to know what happens next. And now that I've finished it, I still want to know what happened next. Because, oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. Harry wrote THREE MORE memoirs in the next few years. (Bernstein died in 2011 at the age of 101.) I've ordered the next two, THE DREAM and THE GOLDEN WILLOW, and can't wait to read them. The other one, as far as I know, has not yet been published, at least not in English. Harry Bernstein was one hell of a good writer. This is a TEN-STAR book. I give it my highest recommendation.more
    Invisible Wall is about two groups of people living on a down trodden street in pre WW1 England. Jews on one side Gentiles on the other. Separating the two an invisible wall, that is breached on rare, but necessary occasions. That is until a Romeo and Juliet situation arises. The memoir is written by the now 97 year old brother. The writing style and number of characters took me a number of pages to get used to, but then I was hooked. Reading until late into the night, wanting/needing to see how it all went. I was not disappointment. I hope Harry Bernstein lives a lot longer and write many more books.more
    When I got to the end of this book, I was thinking, "I really liked it, but that ending just wasn't believable. Never happen that way." And then I realized that I wasn't reading a novel, but a memoir. It did happen that way. This is a wonderful story that explores the wall between the Jewish and Christian neighbors on a street in an impoverished English town in the early 20th century. It's also a story of love: the central question of the book asks whether or not love can overcome that invisible wall. And in the meantime, it gives fascinating insight into the lives of real people in a place and time not really so far away. Highly recommended.more
    The Invisible Wall, begins when Harry Bernstein was four years old.Harry was raised in the English mill town of Stockport. His father worked in a tailor shop, while his mother struggled to feed, clothe, and educate their children. Much of his father's meager salary went for his drinking and gambling, and the family was poorer than most. The family were observant Jews, whose life revolved around the Sabbath and Holy Days.The street the family lived on was populated with similar families. The Jews lived on one side of the street, and the Christians lived on the other. Down the middle of the street runs the "invisible wall" of the title. Except for attending the same schools and frequenting each others' shops, the Christians and Jews had little to do with one another. When one Jewish girl fell in love with an unsuitable Christian boy, her family shipped her off to a relative in Australia. While there was some animosity between the two sides of the street, the families mostly co-existed in an uneasy peace.Life changes, however, during the Great War. The families rely on each other for news of the war and of their sons. All mourn when a son is killed or wounded.When the soldiers return from the War, the budding relationship between Harry's sister Lily and the Christian neighbor Arthur Forshaw blossoms. Harry becomes Lily's co-conspirator in her trysts with Arthur.There are many poignant scenes in The Invisible Wall. This memoir reminded me of Angela's Ashes. The ignorance and poverty of both families was strikingly similar, but The Invisible Wall was much more focused on the relationships between the Christians and Jews than the fact of the poverty.This book tells a very sad, but true story. As in Angela's Ashes, the redemption comes from the author's successful life in America, a stark contrast to its meager beginningmore
    I love Harry. Harry, at 96 years old, writes so beautifully not missing a moment in this memorable tale he is telling. It is so inspiring to see what a little courage did to change the lives of so many. Well done. A wonderful story of a life full of challenges and overcoming bigotry.more
    There are so many amazing aspects to The Invisible Wall, the first of three volumes of a memoir by Harry Bernstein, I am not sure where to start. I guess the most amazing fact I learned was that it is never too late to write your story. Mr. Bernstein started this first book at the age of 96. Almost unbelievable given the clarity of the story. His memory of the pain, poverty, and racism that prevailed in his early life is still as vivid in his writing as it must have been then.He retells the story of his life as well as the lives of his families from his first memories of being brought up in a small mill town in England where the segregation is block by half block. Jews on one side of the street and Christians on the other side of the street. They seem to interact only on Friday evenings when the Christians will help them by coming into their homes to light their fires after sundown for the sabbath evening meal. With the bleak weather, bleak living conditions, bleak education options for the Jewish children, this could easily be a very bleak story but it is in fact a story filled with love, a son's love for his mother, a daughter's love of her Christian neighbor, and a mother's love for her family that enables her to rise above huge obstacles, the largest being her alcoholic, abusive husband. The backdrop of all of these smaller stories is the story of England during World War I. The Great War seems to be a uniting factor in some ways for all the families of this small town but it is not enough to overcome many of the roadblocks between the different factions residing there. I am ready to dive into the second volume of Mr. Bernstein's life as he immigrates to the United States and finds his way. Be uplifted and read this amazing story of life and how giving up was not in the vocabulary of the Bernstein family.more
    The invisible wall in the book title describes the division of peoples on the street where young Harry was boy. It divided the Jews living on one side of the street from the Christians living on the opposite side of the street. Of course, this line or wall was invisible because rather than being built of cement or wood, it was built by the prejudices of the two religions represented on either side of the street. Very enjoyable read!!more
    Beautifully written memoir by Harry Bernstein at 93 years old recalling his life growing up (beginning at 4 years old) in the ghettos of England; the street was divided with Jews on one side and Christians on the other. The cultural divisions, dependencies, and interactions are so well described, you can envision the neighborhood and its residents. It takes a constant reminder that you're not reading a novel.more
    This was a nice story. Not a terribly gripping novel, but so wonderfully descriptive.more
    At first, I wasn't exactly looking forward to reading this book. Sure, it sounded interesting and very intriguing. It was after all a book based on a true story, a memoir, about a young Jewish boy, growing up in a poor society that has been divided by religion and culture. It also features a forbidden love story between a Jewish girl and a Christian boy. I get easily emotional and affected you see. And as a defence mechanism, I avoid things that would make me sad. Not the kind of sad as in I'll be crying but the kind of sad in which my heart will ache, my thoughts will race and I'll think about others around me.The beginning of this book was not very special. It introduced the story, the family and the street. I read it slowly and slowly. It was a good story but nothing special but I continued to read and next thing I know, I am hooked. I cannot put it down for the characters have taken a toll of me and I want to know what will happen. How will this all end? I cannot see a resolution. Can they? So I read until past midnight. I read until I finished it and had that familiar feeling of ecstatic exhaustion of when you've finished a book that truly gave a good reading experience and touched you. Some things affected me, particularly the behaviour of certain characters - they made me think of my own family and that's what I also found special. Even though the characters portrayed are from completely different worlds, setting, time and religion, I could still feel and see the similarities that still go on in this world and I could sympathize and empathize for characters. For example, the portrayal of the mother and her sad and unfortunate life made me go to my own mother and give her a hug. I don't think some characters have brought such a strong reaction from me in...well, a while.In overall, the book brought up several big themes. It dealt with the dysfunction of a poor family in which the mother is repressed and forced to try make the best of living for her children whilst their father spend the majority of his small salary at the pub. There was the hint of that American dream, that idea of a trip to a large nation that would change their lives for good. There was war, but not from the viewpoint of a solider fighting for his life, but from the people, separated by an invisible barrier, waiting on the edge to find out the news whether their loved ones is in the grave or not. There is the girl who studies all day in order to gain admission to a school, only to have her dream shattered by her own patronizing and hard father. There is the girl who daydreams and wishes for the couture, elegant and luxury life on the other side of the town and despises anyone to interrupt her daze. There's the constant whispering and gossiping of women in a small shop. There is that young couple who believes their forbidden and dangerous union will change the world. But the most central thing; the segregation, prejudice and division of two religion living right across each others, strengthen by differences, clashes and contentment but reduced by war, poverty and a common thing. And above all, the narrator, a lost little growing boy who only wishes to please others and himself and who is aware of consequences but oblivious to the reasons.more
    The Invisible Wall By Harry Bernstein The year is 1910, Harry is a young boy growing up in a small mill town in England. One side of the street is Jewish, the other Christian. They are all poor.They all struggle, war is approaching, they dream of America. There is an invisible wall. This beautifully written memoir details his family, with 6 children and a street full of characters. A lot has changed in the world and in other ways human nature has not evolved at all. Harry began writing this memoir at 93, published at 96. He is currently 100 and works on another. Enjoy this historical journey that is not to be missed.more
    A simple lovely story of growing up in poverty. Please God I can write like that, and remember, when I am 93. I cried like a baby when he returned home after all those years. Harry will be 100 in 2 months, hope he will reach the 120more
    The Invisible Wall is a vivid portrait of a young Jewish boy and his life in England in the early 1900s. Beautifully written, this memoir by Harry Bernstein tells of his life in a working class mill town, on a street which is divided by religion. He and his Jewish neighbors live on one side; the Christians live on the other. A powerful tale of prejudice and tolerance, hatred and passion, poverty and the richness of love, the book is both heartbreaking and joyous. More than a glimpse of the author’s life, the reader is absorbed into his world and comes to know well all the memorable people in it. Highly recommended, this is a book that will be remembered.more
    Somehow, the first pages didn't encourage me. The extremely simple voice made me wonder whether his writing style was going to become tedious. The opening paragraphs made me think "uh oh, another 300 page whine about oppression." I don't know why...just my mood, perhaps.It didn't really matter. Within a few pages more those thoughts had flown and I was simply reading. The simple writing style did not become tedious. The whines about oppression never appeared—in fact, there was never any whining about anything in a life that held more than its share of hardship.At age 95, Harry Bernstein wrote his first book, a memoir of his life in a poor Lancashire mill town. Part of the story is about poverty, about a family with so little money that buying any food was, sometimes, a major problem. Part of it is about the trap of too little education and opportunity. More of the story is about the invisible wall—the divide that stretched up the middle of his street: all the houses on one side rented by Christians, all the houses on his side rented by Jews.What I liked most about this book was that he simply recounted the stories, not particularly taking sides or drawing "larger meaning" from things. We see that, yes, there was a lot of anti-Semitism in the neighborhood but, at the same time, we see bigotry directed against the Christians with equal clarity and force. The subtitle of the book is "A Love Story that Broke Barriers" and the much of the story focuses on a romance that crossed that wall. The author doesn't try to create a lot of suspense in the story; the reader can predict much of what will happen long before it actually occurs. However, I didn't find this objectionable—he simply tells the story in the chronology that his young self was able to understand or realize things and allows the adult reader to see ahead.I understand there is a sequel picking up the next phase of his life after his family came to America. I don't know if I'll read it or not; it might be better to just leave things where they ended, allowing the epilogue of the book to let us know how everything turned out.Definitely recommended. I'm waffling between 3½ stars and a "strongly recommended" 4 stars. I'll start conservatively but may change my mind later.more
    Unfiltered or shaped into story; too like Angela’s Ashes but not nearly as well done. Strays off theme, though many interesting anecdotes, especially around British poor experience of WWI. My Book Club liked it better than I did, insisted on my finishing, and refused to "spoil" the ending, but in part and whole it failed to live up.more
    This is a heart-rending memoir, set in the early 1900s, near Manchester England. A young Jewish boy growing up in a tough working class neighborhood, dealing with poverty, a brutal father, and antisemitism. It's a strong memoir, in a similar style and subject matter as [Angela's Ashes].more
    A stunning memoir. In his nineties, Bernstein recalls his fascinating childhood in a small town in England on the eve of WWI. With rich historical detail he describes his street, with poor Jewish people on one side and poor Christian people on the other. Despite very similar lives, their strong religious beliefs and traditions kept them apart. Bernstein tells the story of love and marriage between his older sister and one of the Christian boys across the street, and how their union was able to bring the neighbors some unity and hope, in the midst of their losses to the war and their relentless struggles with poverty. A wonderful read.more
    great britain during WWI, jews and gentiles separated by religion and superstition. great story,more
    Bernstein wrote this memoir of his childhood at age 93, and it comes across so fresh. It's not often that you read a book about a Jewish family in WWII England rather than WWII Germany, and the love story was just wonderful. The "invisible wall" was the street that divided the Jewish side from the Christian side, and the story was interesting and very well-told.more
    Load more
    scribd