The Choice: Embrace the Possible

The Choice: Embrace the Possible

It’s 1944 and sixteen-year-old ballerina and gymnast Edith Eger is sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they h...

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Title:The Choice: Embrace the Possible
Author:Edith Eger
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Edition Language:English

The Choice: Embrace the Possible Reviews

  • Kathleen

    This is a beautiful, absolutely pitch-perfect memoir by Dr. Edith Eger. I was not familiar with Dr. Eger prior to reading this, and I am grateful to her for sharing her story.

    The book is organized into four sections: Prison, Escape, Freedom, and Healing. I would describe it as three parts memoir, one part therapy. It would be enough, simply for nanogeneraian Dr. Eger to tell us her story and share the important events she witnessed in her lifetime. But she is not satisfied to make this book onl

    This is a beautiful, absolutely pitch-perfect memoir by Dr. Edith Eger. I was not familiar with Dr. Eger prior to reading this, and I am grateful to her for sharing her story.

    The book is organized into four sections: Prison, Escape, Freedom, and Healing. I would describe it as three parts memoir, one part therapy. It would be enough, simply for nanogeneraian Dr. Eger to tell us her story and share the important events she witnessed in her lifetime. But she is not satisfied to make this book only about her experience. She is clearly a committed therapist who understands pain and forgiveness uniquely, and has a very powerful message that to truly live a full life, we need to make the choice not only to forgive, but to forgive ourselves.

    I describe the book as pitch-perfect because from the introduction, Dr. Eger explains that there is no heirarchy when it comes to suffering. She does not tell her story so that the reader will minimize their own suffering in comparison, that would just be another way of judging ourselves. As a therapist, she understands that someone whose suffering may seem superficial to others, is generally attributed to something much more deeply rooted, and representative of a much larger pain. I find it extraordinary that she is capable of empathizing with others to this extent. When you read her story, and I hope you do, you will understand the extent of her personal suffering. Not only what she endured in her youth, but as an adult coming to terms with everything she lost, and finding a way to let it be her strength, instead of imagining what her life would have been had it not been interrupted by the cruelty and injustice of the Holocaust. I can not find the words to describe the depth of her compassion.

    Life is about choices, and I am guilty of the destructive thinking that Dr. Eger drescribes in the book. In my Midewestern upbringing, I was raised to take responsibility for my choices. I pride myself in this responsibility. What this book has made me realize that often in my experience, this has been a punishing idea - there are choices, and there are consequences. But life is not that simple, there are choices and more choices. Often we choose to punish ourselves. In doing so, we are imprisoning ourselves with our own beliefs - of not feeling worthy, a fear of making a bad choice... The author is open about choices she made in her own life, and that they may not have been the best ones. Everyone suffers. Everyone has endured the consequences of their own poor choices. But to live our best life, we must continue to make choices, instead of allowing ourselves to be imprisoned by our past.

    Thank you, Dr. Edith Eva Eger for sharing your story and your wisdom. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy of

    for review.

  • Karen

    This is the memoir of Dr. Edith Eger, age 90...an internationally acclaimed psychologist and one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors. At the age of sixteen, along with her parents and sister Magda, was sent to Auschwitz.

    Edie and Magda survived multiple death camps, and Edie was found barely alive in a pile of corpses when American Troops liberated the camps in 1945.

    Such an extraordinary book on survival and stories of how she has helped others to heal by confronting their suffering and maki

    This is the memoir of Dr. Edith Eger, age 90...an internationally acclaimed psychologist and one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors. At the age of sixteen, along with her parents and sister Magda, was sent to Auschwitz.

    Edie and Magda survived multiple death camps, and Edie was found barely alive in a pile of corpses when American Troops liberated the camps in 1945.

    Such an extraordinary book on survival and stories of how she has helped others to heal by confronting their suffering and making the “choice” to heal.

    It took me a long time to read this because I was going online and looking up so many places and people,not that I needed to but I was just so interested since this was a true story. Dr Edith Eger is AMAZING!

  • Louise Wilson

    Dr Edith Eva Eger is an eminent psychologist whose own experiences as a Holocaust survivor helps her treat patients and allows them to escape the prisons of their own minds.

    Edith Eger was just sixteen when the Nazis came to her hometown of Hungry and took the Jewish family to an interment centre and then to Auschwitz. Her parents were then sent to the gas chamber by Joseph Menele. Edith was demanded by Menele to waltz "The Blue Danube" just a few hours after her parents were murdered. Menele rew

    Dr Edith Eva Eger is an eminent psychologist whose own experiences as a Holocaust survivor helps her treat patients and allows them to escape the prisons of their own minds.

    Edith Eger was just sixteen when the Nazis came to her hometown of Hungry and took the Jewish family to an interment centre and then to Auschwitz. Her parents were then sent to the gas chamber by Joseph Menele. Edith was demanded by Menele to waltz "The Blue Danube" just a few hours after her parents were murdered. Menele rewarded Edith with a small loaf of bread of which she shared with her fellow prisoners.

    This is a beautifully written and very moving memoir. It has been divided into four sections: Prison, Escape, Freedom and Healing. How these people who suffered so much, could heal and then go on to make something of their lives like Edith has, beggars belief. This is one very committed woman, who became a therapist, who truly understands people's pain and forgives uniquely. This is not something I would normally read, but I'm really glad that I did. I highly recommend this book.

    I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing and the author Edith Eger for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Elyse Walters

    “Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the past or the grief”.

    The above excerpt is true - but that doesn’t mean it’s easy - or can be achieved by waving a magic wand- or positive thinking it alone. We’d only be fooling ourselves.

    It’s more involved than simply stating a mantra.

    But.... I’m getting ahead of myself.

    The most important thi

    “Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the past or the grief”.

    The above excerpt is true - but that doesn’t mean it’s easy - or can be achieved by waving a magic wand- or positive thinking it alone. We’d only be fooling ourselves.

    It’s more involved than simply stating a mantra.

    But.... I’m getting ahead of myself.

    The most important thing I can share is how extraordinary this memoir

    is.

    From start to finish - it’s PIERCING....ASTONISHING.....GUT WRENCHING...EYE-OPENING about experiences of the Holocaust- (no matter how many books you’ve read on this topic).

    Edith also gives us a very close look at what follows at the end of imprisonment, the end of the war.

    -‘Something’ will feel ‘new’ about The Holocaust as if reading it for the very first time.

    I didn’t know who this 90 year old author was until yesterday- but her name -

    *Edith Eva Eger* is a mainstay solid name in my heart & mind now. Can you image writing your first and only book at age 90? If ‘yes’....’wonderful’. This woman had a story to tell!!!!

    I’ve read several memoirs about the Holocaust—written by ‘survivors’ whom I can ‘never’ forget their ‘name’ —

    “The CHOICE”, by Edith Eva Eger is a mind boggling memoir — incredibly affecting!!!!! I’ll remember her name!!! And... I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

    When Edith was first released from the war...she said many things...

    Here are a couple of things she said:

    “I AM FREE! I AM FREE!

    but now I have no voice”.

    “For more than a year I have not had the luxury to think about what hurts or doesn’t hurt. I have been able to think only about how to keep up with others, how to stay one step ahead, to get a little food here, to walk fast enough, to never stop, to stay alive, to not be left behind. Now that the danger is gone, the pain within and the suffering around me turn awareness into hallucination. A silent movie. A march of skeletons. Most of us are too physically ruined to walk. We lie on carts, we lean on sticks. Our uniforms are filthy and worn, so ragged and tattered that they hardly cover our skin. Our skin hardly covers our bones. We are an anatomy lesson. Elbows, knees, ankles, cheeks, knuckles, ribs jut out like questions. What are we now? Our bones look obscene, our eyes are caverns, Blue-black finger nails. We are trauma in motion”.

    ***Edith was born in 1927. She died in 1978. She competed in the Olympic Games as a Hungarian swimmer in 1964. She was also training for the Olympic team for gymnastics before she was kicked off the team for being Jewish- soon after her family was sent to the camps. She was 17 at the time.

    The story you’ll read in this book deals with a dark, difficult, and important subject ...

    Edith brings forth a profound human quality relative to today.

    Edith married, came over to the United States, had three children, learned English, got a degree, a PhD, taught history in Texas.

    She later became a psychologist helping others overcome traumas.

  • Paul Lockman

    5 stars

    Absorbing. Brilliant. A truly inspirational read.

    What a woman! Edith Eger is now 90 years old and has given the world this outstanding memoir of her survival in Auschwitz as a teenager and then her life after WWII when she and her husband emigrated to America and all the while describing how she has dealt with being a survivor and her path to self-acceptance, self-fulfilment and inner peace. The book cover has a quote from Desmond Tutu, ‘A gift to humanity. One of those rare and eternal s

    5 stars

    Absorbing. Brilliant. A truly inspirational read.

    What a woman! Edith Eger is now 90 years old and has given the world this outstanding memoir of her survival in Auschwitz as a teenager and then her life after WWII when she and her husband emigrated to America and all the while describing how she has dealt with being a survivor and her path to self-acceptance, self-fulfilment and inner peace. The book cover has a quote from Desmond Tutu, ‘A gift to humanity. One of those rare and eternal stories that leave you forever changed.’ It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment.

    What makes it such a great book? A few reasons for me – first and foremost, it's a remarkable story of survival in itself. I felt the timeframes of the book were just right with the first third of the book devoted to her time in the infamous concentration camp and the remaining two-thirds devoted to the rest of her life. I really liked the fact that a considerable amount was written about the few months just after the war ended and the adjustment to freedom and the brand new life Edith was facing in the late 1940s and early 1950s, which is something you don’t often find with books written by holocaust survivors. Also, the writing is free flowing, engaging and very high quality. It’s a real page-turner. For me, probably the main thing that makes it so memorable is that Edith went onto to become a registered clinical psychologist and she offers such raw and honest insights into the human condition, how she coped with such a traumatic experience and what gives our lives meaning. I felt the balance in describing her own psyche and healing and the examples she gave of the many clients she has helped was just right too.

    Very early on we get some insights into Edith’s firm belief about the power of the mind and our thinking and how she wants us to view her experience as a survivor…..

    Edith talks us through some of the big names in psychology and psychotherapy that she gravitated towards, e.g. Rogers, Ellis, Seligman, and she came up with her own version of therapy that she labelled Choice Therapy, as freedom is about choosing

    ompassion,

    umour,

    ptimism,

    ntuition,

    uriosity, and self-

    xpression. And to be free is to live in the present. There was also a heart breaking choice that Edith had to make standing in line at Auschwitz but I won’t put in a spoiler describing what that choice was.

    Nearing the end of the book it’s 2010 and Edith has been invited to address an army unit returning from combat in Afghanistan to talk about her experience of trauma and how she coped and survived. She gets a little nervous stepping up to the podium but then reminds herself.....

    It would be interesting to know how many holocaust survivors are still alive. There can't be too many, most would be well into their 80s and 90s. Edith herself is 90 and her sister Magda who was with her the whole time in Auschwitz is 95. It's so critical we get as many survivor stories published as possible while they are still alive. Thank you Edith Eger for sharing your brave and compelling story with us.

  • Lisa Vegan

    full 5 stars book

    It’s a great mix of holocaust, biography, psychology, though it’s mostly her personal story, with various family members, and to a lesser extent some of her patients included. It’s extremely readable and it flows beautifully, and I didn’t want to put it down.

    It’s a compelling account, and it’s powerful, and for me with “punches to the gut” emotional.

    It seems that she wants readers/others to feel empowered by her story and with what she’s learned about healing and living, but m

    full 5 stars book

    It’s a great mix of holocaust, biography, psychology, though it’s mostly her personal story, with various family members, and to a lesser extent some of her patients included. It’s extremely readable and it flows beautifully, and I didn’t want to put it down.

    It’s a compelling account, and it’s powerful, and for me with “punches to the gut” emotional.

    It seems that she wants readers/others to feel empowered by her story and with what she’s learned about healing and living, but my depressed and anxious feelings were brought up, though I definitely also saw ways to use what she teaches and models.

    The “reveal” toward the end was fine for me because it was something she hadn’t remembered, so it felt as though the reader was learning it when she did and didn’t feel manipulative.

    I’m so glad that she wrote this book, and in this format/form and with this content. It’s an indispensable addition to the Holocaust memoir genre, and one of the very best.

    She does have a co-writer but I never got the feeling that I wasn’t directly hearing her voice.

    It’s a very quotable book including:

    “How easily a life can become a litany of guilt and regret, a song that keeps echoing with the same chorus, with the inability to forgive ourselves. How easily the life we didn’t live becomes the only life we prize. How easily we are seduced by the fantasy that we are in control, that we were ever in control, that the things we could or should have doneor said have the power, if only we had done or said them, to cure pain, to erase suffering, to vanish loss. How easily we can cling to – worship – the choice we think we could or should have made.”

    and

    “So often when we are unhappy it is becasue we are taking too much responsibility or we are taking too little. Instead of being assertive and choosing clearly for ourselves, we might become aggressive (choosing for others) or passive (letting others choose for us), or passive-aggressive (choosing for others by preventing them from achieving what they are choosing for themselves).”

    and

    “Time doesn't heal. It’s what you do with the time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the past or the grief.”

  • Linda

    I once had the opportunity to hear Christopher Reeves speak after he was paralyzed from his neck down. He was confined to a wheelchair, dependent on a ventilator to breath and yet I was totally amazed at all he had accomplished after his accident...how he did not allow his body to imprison him. Tears flowed through out the audience as he shared his story . I do not think anyone could leave that day without being inspired.

    Amazing as it is, Edy Eger and her book have impacted me even more. Not onl

    I once had the opportunity to hear Christopher Reeves speak after he was paralyzed from his neck down. He was confined to a wheelchair, dependent on a ventilator to breath and yet I was totally amazed at all he had accomplished after his accident...how he did not allow his body to imprison him. Tears flowed through out the audience as he shared his story . I do not think anyone could leave that day without being inspired.

    Amazing as it is, Edy Eger and her book have impacted me even more. Not only for her own heart wrenching, horrific story of her survival as a prisoner of war at one of the worst concentration camps in history, but for her story of her life’s work in teaching people how to “escape the concentration camps of their own minds. “

    Some books we hold dear to our hearts for the touching stories or for how they made us feel. It is the rare book that comes along that gives us new eyes to see and shares tools that can impact our daily life. “ The Choice Embrace the Possible “ is that kind of book. Tucked within its pages you will find hope, healing and wisdom. We are blessed to have Edy Eger in our midst. I am blessed to have been able to read her book. I have to share this last thought. No matter what I would write here, I could not do this book justice.

  • Samantha

    I will admit that I did not expect to enjoy this book. I thought it was going to be another holocaust memoir with a hint of psychological analysis. But man, was I wrong.

    This book was beautifully written, and was a struggle to put down every night. This book was a small exercise in self-help, disguised as a gorgeous memoir. The Choice has genuinely made me change how I think about life.

    I would highly recommend this book.

  • Maureen

    **4.5 STARS **

    Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity”

    ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

    I could never find the right words and phrases to describe what a moving yet uplifting memoir this is. Edith Eger was just 16 years old in 1944 when she entered the gates of hell - Auschwitz. Her grandparents and mother and father were sent to the gas chamber under the direct orders of the inf

    **4.5 STARS **

    Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity”

    ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

    I could never find the right words and phrases to describe what a moving yet uplifting memoir this is. Edith Eger was just 16 years old in 1944 when she entered the gates of hell - Auschwitz. Her grandparents and mother and father were sent to the gas chamber under the direct orders of the infamous Josef Mengele. Under those same orders she was made to dance for Mengele. Although she was terrified, she managed to take her mind back to the outside world, back to when she used to give ballet performances for appreciative audiences. At the end of her performance for Mengele she was thrown a small loaf of bread - and though grateful that she had the extra food to share with her sister Magda and others, she was also relieved that he hadn’t bestowed the same fate on her as her beloved family members.

    I won’t go into any more detail, but Edith shares her experiences in Auschwitz , and when liberation finally came, she was discovered among a pile of bodies barely alive.

    Man’s inhumanity to man never fails to shock me. The ones who were fortunate enough to survive the death camps, didn’t just need medical intervention for their extreme malnutrition and other physical problems, but more importantly it was the huge psychological scars that would prove the most difficult to heal.

    Edith went on to become an eminent psychologist, someone who helped people come to terms with the traumas in their lives, (and she shares many of those cases with us) but she also needed to exorcise the ghosts of her own past too!

    I found when I was reading this book, that an involuntary sob would sometimes appear out of nowhere. It was excruciating to read at times, and yet I couldn’t put it down. Desmond Tutu said that this book would leave you forever changed- I’m inclined to agree. Thank you Edith for sharing your courageous and inspiring life story, it’s not something I will forget any time soon.

    Thank you so Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK Ebury Publishing for my Arc. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange.

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