Thursday, January 18, 2024

#Bookreview of Hummingbird: Messages from My Ancestors by Diana Raab

Hummingbird: Messages from My Ancestors

By: Diana Raab
Publisher: Modern History Press
Publication Date: January 15, 2024
ISBN: 978-1615997640
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: January 16, 2024
Award-winning writer Diana Raab in her newest book, Hummingbird, offers stories from her family experience, expanding and developing them into pragmatic steps that others can follow.
In the first chapter of her soul-searching recollections, readers learn that Regina, Raab’s maternal grandmother and a significant and much-loved contact and caregiver, committed suicide. The author depicts this childhood drama in sharp detail, being with Regina when she, only ten years old, discovered the woman’s unconscious form. She had to phone her mother with the news that, “I think something’s wrong with Grandma!” and wait in mental torment for help to come, believing Regina might still be alive. She watched as an ambulance took her grandmother away, accompanied by police and firemen. She would learn that her grandmother died from an overdose of tranquilizers. This highly traumatic event stoked in Raab the need to begin writing - her self-discovered way of dealing with the grief and confusion that arose from loss. She actually conducted “after-school journaling classes with other neighborhood children,” presaging her passion for what would later become her career. Another aspect of this intuitive sense came when, as an adult, she consulted mystics and psychics to explore a deeper understanding of many of her familial connections and disconnects; one such deviner described Regina as “a seer,” a truth that Raab readily grasped.
With her family background of German/Austrian immigration, Raab would uncover many secrets embedded in that ancestry, finding reason to question her treatment by some of her closest kin. Dealing with these sometimes painful revelations impelled her even farther along the path to designing art-based, often poetic, journal-centered methods for others to employ as they remember and reconcile past triumphs and mistakes.
Raab has taken upon herself the admirable task of helping and healing, mainly through her many books treating the crucial subjects that arose out of her own poignant, often painful experiences, both as a child and as a mother. This latest work again fulfills that chosen purpose, setting forth for readers at the end of each chapter a series of carefully composed questions that delve into such crucial issues as Holocaust history, long-term illness, COVID concerns, and the need for “a safe haven.” Raab readily expresses her heartfelt hope that her grandchildren will want to explore their heritage and will approach her with “questions about my life before they were born.” Her writing has the power to endow readers with this same spiritual ambition as they read and ponder her artistry and her deftly defined wishes for them and for herself: health, happiness, and a graciously given legacy.
Quill says: Readers will be enchanted by Diana Raab’s Hummingbird, a mentoring memoir that offers a multitude of recollections and suggestions for absorbing family dynamics, forgiving without forgetting, and growing spiritually from the exercises she has practiced and now shares.
For more information on Hummingbird: Messages from My Ancestors, please visit the author's website at:
Diana Raab
Diana Raab
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