Szabo, Peter. “Finding Maria: A Young Man’s Search for His Grandmother, and Himself”, Chickadee Prince Books, 2017.
A Memoir of Love and Loss
Peter Szabo’s “Finding Maria” is the story of Szabo’s friendship with his grandmother in the early 1990s and her early life in Hungary, before and during the Holocaust, and her escape from Hungary to the United States. The family was forced to convert to Catholicism but returned to Judaism in America. Through his friendship with Maria, we also learn of Szabo’s discovery of hidden family secrets. Taken as a whole, this is the history of a Hungarian Jewish family as well as of communism and the Holocaust. Most of all, it is the story of a very special woman.
As Szabo learns of his family’s past, he learns of their suffering and bravery, their betrayals and their terrible losses. The memories that he shares with us are so personal that we feel as if we are there with him. It all began with his cleaning out his grandmother’s apartment after her death. He found that his family had many layers and these include suffering, bravery, betrayal and losses. While closing the door on one left, he opened the door to his own life and brought much in. We understand the powerful connection between grandmother and grandson and see how it influences the lives of the two. We see the transfer of lives from one generation to another as reflected in their familial friendship. A full review will be forthcoming in May with the publishing of the book.