"Semel tackles some big subjects. She incorporates a sense of the young state of Israel, a land populated by immigrants, bearing the scars of the Holocaust, with a bird's-eye view of how those wounds seep, directly and indirectly, into all corners of family life... Lovely relationship draws simply and genuinely, unfolds... Although reading about another person's miseries may not change anything, it may, just for a moment, diminish those inevitable feelings of loneliness."
The New York Times, USA, September 1990

"A moving portrait of people in a unique time and place in history"
Horn book Magazine, USA January 1991

"Nava Semel had written a wonderful book for adolescents but it will not be surprising if her sensitivity told story of Gershona, finds an audience among adults readers... Semel is too wise a writer for simple solutions and conventionally happy endings. The ambiance of Tel Aviv is deftly re-created...captured with tender skill.
Bookmark, USA, December 1990

"Semel effectively portrays the intense love of Holocaust survivors for their children".
Kirkus Reviews, USA, January 1990

"Read and don't miss! One of those books that catch you immediately from the first page and draw you into it. Very moving and truthful story. .. You too will be sorry when the book ends. A wonderful book!" A very moving and truthfull story is told, as if Gershona the heroine, is sitting next to you on the sofa on a quiet afternoon, telling her story in a very personal way, while the shadows creep through the blinds.
Kulanu Children Magazine, Israel, February 1989

"This is a thoughtful novel of a girl's growing up; its stronger components are Gershona's delicate, precise observation... Readers will enjoy both Gershona's story and the depiction of everyday life in the young state of Israel."
Publisher Weekly, USA 1990

"A warm, human intimate story that fascinates the reader... Full of sincere longings for those days when Israel was very young and one could count on the other to be a real person."
La'isha, Women's Magazine, Israel, 1989

"Lots of humor...Highly recommended"
Hadashot, Israel, July 1989

"Gershona's sources of embarrassment-an odd name, an overprotective parent etc. are vividly characterized and typical of preteens everywhere"
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, USA, June 1990

"Rich language... readers will prize this honest story of Gershona's growth into self-acceptance."
Booklist, USA, January 1991

"Coming of age in a young country. In "Becoming Gershona" Ms. Semel furthers her exploration of the influence of the Holocaust on the second generation."
Forward, USA September 1990

"Gershona enters a new phase of her life. Very well written".
The Jerusalem Post, Israel, June 1991

"Delicate style, with dignity and reservation. We are discovering a totally different country than our own, both cosmopolitan and provincial. A country detached fowting somehow in thin air. Gershona is one of the lucky ones to discover a grandfather in the land where grandfathers do not exist."
LIBRI, Italy, 1989

"... Gershona talks about herself in a day-to-day language, however she is never childish. The story is well entwined, rooted into the right atmosphere and bringing to the Italian reader a very different world in the past, when home was not a safe haven and where memories of the parents had burst out so strongly, leaving their children with no answers."
24 ORE, Italy, 1989

The pain of growing up is the center of this book. It is a book that deals with the secrets of becoming a person and the dark side of the soul. Gershona is confused. She experiences silence and there are no explanations for her in the strange world of grown-ups.
The dark, unexplained side of human nature, makes this book - wonderfully translated - into a sequence of clear bright pictures. With reserved style Nava Semel explores the pain of growing up. "Some of the answers are painful", she writes.
In short penetrating pictures Nava Semel illuminates the vulnerability and fragility of her characters - such as Gershona's grandmother who is full of deep sadness, her Grandfather being blind, Nimrod's music, her father who mourns the time lost without a parent, and her mother living under constant desperate fear.
People who are betrayed are forced to retreat into silence. With much delicacy the author explores their hiding places and portrayes them with gracefull compassion.
Elizabeth Homeister, German paper - Germany, 1994

"... A rare novel, with rare intensive emotions, full of artistic laconism"
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany, February 1994

"With much delicacy the author explores people's hiding places and portrays them with graceful compassion."
Eselsohe Magazine, Germany, February 1993

"The most important part of the book takes place behind the lines, within the echoes of the Hebrew language and its spirit. A marvelous book, written in rich style. It shads a light on the life of a young Israeli girl, who is part of the beginning of her state."
Tausend und Ein Buch, Germany, Nr. 3/1994

"...I found myself astonished by the fact that reports of the second generation lack any complaint against their parents. There is no accusation, no anger about the miserable childhood or wasted youth.
On the contrary - the more rude the parents' conduct was, the more understanding were the children towards their parents actions. "The Nazis could not kill me, but you can!" This phrase was heard by Author Nava Semel number of times from her mother. However in her novel "Becoming Gershona, this phrase in not an accusation.
Ms. Semel says: "I have admiration towards my parents achievements and their success in building a new healthy life."
"DIE ZEIT", Germany,July 14, 1989

"Nava Semel grasps the beauty of a state being created. A Street where they built new houses and people who pour in from different corners of the world. In this world almost everyone carries the open wounds of the past. It's a book to be read with interest from the very first page. A book for adults, written in utmost delicacy. No dramatic events, but poetic prose that touches the heart deeply."
Orient Express, Romanian paper, August 1995

"Israeli Maturity. Nava Semel adds a literary package and earnest professionalism to her family tradition. Young, full of energy, and direct like her book. The Hebrew original title "Gershona the different" is well justified. Semel is a sharp observant, her gaze piercing into the life of her parents. Her heroine is an introvert, going through the process of maturity and discovering both strength and helplessness."
Ultima Ora, Daily Romanian Paper, Israel, August 1995

"Being part of new kind of literature in the Israeli literary arena, Semel succeeds in reviving the atmosphere of a unique beginning. A new world is created in her book. A Renaissance is achieved through inner personal strength and collective social consciousness.
Gershona is more than a private story. It is the story of an idea. It is about our revelation of ourselves in this new world."
Cureerul National, Romania, March 1995

"The story of Gershona is being read breathlessly. It reveals to the reader the way a "Sabra" feels and it makes one adopt her way of thinking. Life becomes more bearable and we are able to make peace with ourselves. With innocence and clear voice, so typical of the age of the main character, Gershona reveals both the small joys of life and inevitable sorrows."
MINIMUM Monthly Magazine, Romania, October 1995

"Gershona is more than an educating novel. It is more than a presentation in Faulkner style of the transfer between childhood and maturity. It is the story of the beginning of the state of Israel. One of the central metaphors is the age of Gershona versus the age of Israel... There's a Proustian method used in the book. Semel creates the whole from a fragment, supposedly insignificant, but in fact very powerful fragment indeed. These are esthetic delicate expression testifying to the artistic intelligence of the author..."
"The psychological discussion following the Yiddish expression "Oy Vey" in the book, reflects the spiritual intellect of the author, who follows in the footsteps of "Mendele Mocher Sfarim". Like her predecessor Semel explores the behaviouristic possibilities within the Jewish characters, yet her point of view is filled with an Israeli sense of humor."
Realitatea Evreiasca Magazine, Romania, Nr. 12 (812), September 1995

Related items

© All rights reserved to NAVA SEMEL 2017