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Dreams played an important part in our lives in those early days in England. Our mother invented them for us to make up for all the things we lacked and to give us some hope for the future. During the hard and bitter years of his youth in England, Harry Bernstein's selfless mother struggles to keep her six children fed and clothed. But she never stops dreaming of a better l Dreams played an important part in our lives in those early days in England. Our mother invented them for us to make up for all the things we lacked and to give us some hope for the future. During the hard and bitter years of his youth in England, Harry Bernstein's selfless mother struggles to keep her six children fed and clothed. But she never stops dreaming of a better life in America, no matter how unlikely. Then, one miraculous day when Harry is twelve years old, steamships tickets arrive in the mail, sent by an anonymous benefactor. Suddenly, a new life full of the promise of prosperity seems possible and the family sets sail for America, meeting relatives in Chicago. Harry is mesmerized by the city: the cars, the skyscrapers, and the gorgeous vistas of Lake Michigan. For a time, the family gets a taste of the good life: electric lights, a bathtub, a telephone. But soon the harsh realities of the Great Depression envelop them. Skeletons in the family closet come to light, mafiosi darken their doorstep, family members are lost, and dreams are shattered. In the face of so much loss, Harry and his mother must make a fateful decision one that will change their lives forever. And though he has struggled for so long, there is an incredible bounty waiting for Harry in New York: his future wife, Ruby. It is their romance that will finally bring the peace and happiness that Harry's mother always dreamed was possible. With a compelling cast and evocative settings, Harry Bernstein's extraordinary account of his hardscrabble youth in Depression-era Chicago and New York will grip you from the very first page. Full of humor, drama, and romance, this tale of hope and dreams coming true enthralls and enchants.


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Dreams played an important part in our lives in those early days in England. Our mother invented them for us to make up for all the things we lacked and to give us some hope for the future. During the hard and bitter years of his youth in England, Harry Bernstein's selfless mother struggles to keep her six children fed and clothed. But she never stops dreaming of a better l Dreams played an important part in our lives in those early days in England. Our mother invented them for us to make up for all the things we lacked and to give us some hope for the future. During the hard and bitter years of his youth in England, Harry Bernstein's selfless mother struggles to keep her six children fed and clothed. But she never stops dreaming of a better life in America, no matter how unlikely. Then, one miraculous day when Harry is twelve years old, steamships tickets arrive in the mail, sent by an anonymous benefactor. Suddenly, a new life full of the promise of prosperity seems possible and the family sets sail for America, meeting relatives in Chicago. Harry is mesmerized by the city: the cars, the skyscrapers, and the gorgeous vistas of Lake Michigan. For a time, the family gets a taste of the good life: electric lights, a bathtub, a telephone. But soon the harsh realities of the Great Depression envelop them. Skeletons in the family closet come to light, mafiosi darken their doorstep, family members are lost, and dreams are shattered. In the face of so much loss, Harry and his mother must make a fateful decision one that will change their lives forever. And though he has struggled for so long, there is an incredible bounty waiting for Harry in New York: his future wife, Ruby. It is their romance that will finally bring the peace and happiness that Harry's mother always dreamed was possible. With a compelling cast and evocative settings, Harry Bernstein's extraordinary account of his hardscrabble youth in Depression-era Chicago and New York will grip you from the very first page. Full of humor, drama, and romance, this tale of hope and dreams coming true enthralls and enchants.

30 review for The Dream: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    Earlier this year I had the opportunity to read The Invisible Wall, a memoir written by nonagenarian Harry Bernstein. This was his first published book after a lifetime of rejection letters telling him that his novel did not fit the company’s plans. Following a career of writing magazine articles and editing, Bernstein turned to writing his life story as a means of coping and grieving the death of his wife of sixty seven years, Ruby. An English publishing house took the chance on a nonagenarian Earlier this year I had the opportunity to read The Invisible Wall, a memoir written by nonagenarian Harry Bernstein. This was his first published book after a lifetime of rejection letters telling him that his novel did not fit the company’s plans. Following a career of writing magazine articles and editing, Bernstein turned to writing his life story as a means of coping and grieving the death of his wife of sixty seven years, Ruby. An English publishing house took the chance on a nonagenarian writer, and Bernstein became a celebrity in his retirement community. By age ninety six, his friends and siblings were all gone, and he realized that writing was a good a means as any to fill the empty spaces in his daily life. At age ninety eight he saw the publication of The Dream: A Memoir, which followed his family on their journey to the United States. The Bernstein family left England in 1922 and arrived in Chicago. Ada Bernstein had little education but had much pride and wondered where the money for the tickets came from. Her husband was a chronic drunk, and, while his siblings managed to make ends meet, none of them were loaded in cash. A young Harry meets his grandparents and large, extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Immediately, his siblings find work, but Harry’s mother is determined that he become the one member of the family to attend high school and college, so he is enrolled at a local school. At the time, the majority of Jews in Chicago lived on the north or west sides. My own family settled on Division Street, an enclave for Jewish immigrants to the city. Yet, at school, Harry encountered a number of anti-Semitic slurs, so, perhaps, his family did not settle in a heavily Jewish area. What is apparent is that in the presence of his siblings, Harry’s father, a chronic alcoholic, turned to drinking once again, burning through the family income. Luckily, with three children working, Ada Bernstein was no longer dependent on a bum husband, and was able to achieve her slice of the American dream- a flat apartment with a parlor, matching furniture, and a piano. At the time of Harry’s graduation from Lane Tech high school, he sought to be a writer. Three older siblings had gotten married and no longer could support their mother. Harry’s dream of college would be put on hold. Drinking continued to take its toll on his father, and eventually Harry convinced his mother that they should leave behind their dream apartment and settle in New York, where two of his brothers had relocated after marriage. Reluctantly, Ada agrees, for even though it is not the best move for he, she wants the best for her sons Harry and Sidney, and in the 1920s, New York was the best that America had to offer. Harry pines to be a writer, suffers some bumps along the way, and eventually publishes stories for magazines in order to get his name in the industry and to support his mother. He establishes relations with his grandfather, a street beggar, who had been supporting all of his children from alms for years. Not one to deflate his mother’s spirits, Harry lets her believe that her husband has been working and supporting her, finally giving up his drinking and becoming a family man later in life. Toward the end of the memoir, Harry writes of how he met his wife Ruby at an American Legion Hall dance. He was given a ticket by his grandfather, the best $.25 that he ever spent in his life. He notes that Ruby was the best dressed woman in the room in a bright orange dress, and, according to Harry, it was love at first sight for both. In the Depression years, the couple would go on dates to Central Park and see free concerts and plays. As one who enjoys reading about Gilded Age New York, I found the descriptions of Central Park and the Brownsville, Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods wholesome and magical, a feeling that could have been shared by Harry and Ruby during their courtship. At its apex, Harry describes a golden willow tree in Central Park, that has made an appearance in other books set in New York. After a childhood marred by poverty and his father’s drinking, one could not help but wish Harry the best in his future. As a nonagenarian, one does not have to produce a literary classic, just to tell the story of his life. Harry Bernstein uses simple sentence structures and leads his readers on his life’s journey, as though one were sharing a cup of tea with him at his kitchen table. I found the story enthralling and finished it in one day. Harry hinted at his future in The Invisible Wall so I had an inkling that his life turned out for the best. It was still a captivating journey for me to read about nearly one hundred years of a man’s life, and found it to be a lesson in perseverance in that he never gave up on his lifelong dream of publishing a book. It is the most impressive that he wrote and had three books published after the age of ninety five, an age most people do not see in their lives. 4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Born in 1910, Harry Bernstein is now 100 years old. I googled him prior to writing this review but it seems that he is still alive. The Dream (2008) is my second book by him. Last year, my lawyer-brother encouraged me to read his The Invisible Wall (2007) and I gave it a five star rating. The Dream is the sequel of The Invisible Wall. Both of course are memoirs. Simple straight life stories that pierce one's heart. Including mine. In the book's Epilogue, Harry was asked why he is only writing mem Born in 1910, Harry Bernstein is now 100 years old. I googled him prior to writing this review but it seems that he is still alive. The Dream (2008) is my second book by him. Last year, my lawyer-brother encouraged me to read his The Invisible Wall (2007) and I gave it a five star rating. The Dream is the sequel of The Invisible Wall. Both of course are memoirs. Simple straight life stories that pierce one's heart. Including mine. In the book's Epilogue, Harry was asked why he is only writing memoirs (there is already the third, The Golden Willow published recently). HB: "I can think in no terms other than reality. There is nothing that makes me feel more at home than to write about it. I do not disparage fiction in any form, but I think the most important thing in the world is the reality around us and telling about it." My thought upon reading this: That's why I read memoirs and plan to write mine maybe when I turn 96 like Harry Bernstein. Another question was asked and this time about him not been into college but obviously a well-educated person (aside from memoir, he writes movie scripts and used to work as a magazine editor for trade magazines, and also wrote freelance articles for such publications as Popular Mechanics, Jewish American Monthly and Newsweek). How did he furthered his own education outside of the classroom? HB: "I furthered my education chiefly through reading books that contain other people's thoughts. That is how most people achieve their education no matter how many degrees they have. The discovery of printing, and the ability to collect people's thoughts in the form of a book was the most wonderful thing that ever happened in this world. I believe further that relatively few of the people who go to college come out educated." My thought upon reading this: Hmmm. I have two college degrees and a masteral units. I have been voraciously reading for almost two years now and I think that the education that I am getting reading fiction and non-fiction works have greatly added to what I know about life. Prior to those two years I used to read Nicholas Sparks's and John Grishman's trashy novels. I am now glad I shifted to serious authors because I must say though that those two years seem to be the more meaningful years of life in the world of literatures. It is part of growing up though. I agree with my lawyer-brother that young people can afford to waste time reading trash because they always think that they will have enough time to shift to worthwhile authors later in their lives. This is no longer true for somebody in his 40s and with eye grade increasing due to reading and computer works. My favorite part in this memoir: During the height of The Great Depression in the 30s, Bernstein got this job of reading and synopsizing fiction books for a movie outfit. One book a day for $20-30 each. If there is a job like that for Regal, Viva, Seiko, etc. I am willing to resign in my current IT job and apply there. Or maybe part-time. It is now my "dream job" ha ha To Roseamongthorns (who I will see in person soon): I squeezed this book in my tbr this month because you asked Atty. Joselito if you can borrow this. This book, among other two, was my birthday gift to him last year. Normally, he does not lend a book without reading it first but I think he is not interested to read this and he asked me to give this to you. But I thought I'd like to know what happened with the Bernsteins when they finally moved from England to America. So, I read this. Like The Invisible Wall, this is an easy read. The narrative is not as scintillating as Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov. The description of the locale is not as picturesque and vivid as Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje. However, the storytelling is compellingly simple and the prose is direct. The Bernstein's struggle in Chicago and New York during the depression is something that make me thankful not to be in their shoes. My mother and brother are in the US and I know their stories. Good that they did not come to the USA during that time. I think most of us Filipinos, given the chance, would still prefer to work in the US than any other parts of the world including our own country. This is a pity. In the 30s, Bernstein said that the dream was a bubble that burst. A mirage that faded. My mother and brother and his own family are now American citizens and they also had their startup stories in that land of opportunities. I say that the picture did not change that much given the difference of 50-60 years (they went there in the 80s to 90s) in terms of being discriminated as second-class though already naturalized citizens. And Rose, you have a namesake character here called "The Duchess". That's the only other spoiler I want to share with you. Enjoy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    A more loving tribute to a mother I have never read. The author is brutally honest about his young adult life circumstances (his drunken father, his poverty, his beggar grandfather, etc), but his tenacity to overcome his circumstances becomes evident almost immediately. And no matter where his life leads him, he never forgets his mother or her dream. I'd also like to mention that he grabs a dream job: reading books for MGM! Ah the life

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Harry Bernstein wrote three memoirs in his 90's. This is the second one. And, I'm loving all 3! (I'm currently reading the last one.) This second book takes place after WWI when Harry and his family finally move to America - his mother's dream. But, life didn't turn out exactly as she thought it would. These stories are humorous and poignant and I love them all! A wonderful storyteller telling wonderful stories. His memory is incredible! I've read a lot of books the past month & didn't record them Harry Bernstein wrote three memoirs in his 90's. This is the second one. And, I'm loving all 3! (I'm currently reading the last one.) This second book takes place after WWI when Harry and his family finally move to America - his mother's dream. But, life didn't turn out exactly as she thought it would. These stories are humorous and poignant and I love them all! A wonderful storyteller telling wonderful stories. His memory is incredible! I've read a lot of books the past month & didn't record them, so recording them all at once using the dates of Oct 1st-Oct 31st.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jami

    This is the second of Harry Bernstein’s trilogy memoir. I liked it as much as the first one, and am looking forward to the third. I chuckled when he described hanging up the laundry when his wife went to work and being unable to figure out how to hang her bra!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Harry Bernstein desires one thing, to travel to America and explore all the opportunities. For years, he has heard about the countless ways to make a living there, so when he finally gets the opportunity to go with his family, he is overjoyed. Although he is elated to finally go after his dreams, his mother wants his drunken and bitter dad to go along with them for the ride. Harry is unsure about having his company, thus his hopes are shattered when his Father does not share the same sentiments Harry Bernstein desires one thing, to travel to America and explore all the opportunities. For years, he has heard about the countless ways to make a living there, so when he finally gets the opportunity to go with his family, he is overjoyed. Although he is elated to finally go after his dreams, his mother wants his drunken and bitter dad to go along with them for the ride. Harry is unsure about having his company, thus his hopes are shattered when his Father does not share the same sentiments about going to America. While he is aware of his past, he still thinks that his Father is simply an abusive deadbeat that tries to crush every hope he has. Accompanied with his siblings, he leaves to go to America excited and nervous at the same time. Despite the fact that his Father agrees to go and stay with their distant relatives,tensions arise as they settle there. Additionally, Harry has to grow accustomed to American choice of attire and learning proper English and pronunciation. Yet he is determined to make a living, first going to college for an education and making sure that his family is well taken care of. As years progress, he meets a lovely lady, Ruby who he falls in love with almost instantly. Battling poverty and impending sickness by his mother, Harry is still steadfast on proving for his family, no matter what the circumstance are. I thought this was a very well written memoir about Harry Bernstein life. I felt so sympathetic with him, especially how much he resented his Father presence. Also the attachment he had with his mother was very painful to read. The pictures that accompanied the book was nice, it was almost like the author bought all these lively characters to life. Lastly the question and answer section at the end was enlightening.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Dreams. Everyone in life has dreams. For Harry’s mother, her dreams were as simple as having a parlor that contained a carpet, furniture and piano. Another one of her dreams was coming to America, so her family could have a better life. In the memoir The Dream, all of these dreams come true…but in life, dreams are often shattered. This true life story is the second book, which centers around Harry Bernstein and his family, who set sail to America from a poor working town in Lancashire, England. T Dreams. Everyone in life has dreams. For Harry’s mother, her dreams were as simple as having a parlor that contained a carpet, furniture and piano. Another one of her dreams was coming to America, so her family could have a better life. In the memoir The Dream, all of these dreams come true…but in life, dreams are often shattered. This true life story is the second book, which centers around Harry Bernstein and his family, who set sail to America from a poor working town in Lancashire, England. The family’s new life begins when they receive steam ship tickets from an unknown benefactor. Set in the early 1920s in Chicago and New York City, the family experiences life in America, where, as most immigrants believe, everyone is rich. But, as soon as they arrive at his grandmother’s tenement apartment, they discover otherwise. The author recounts his childhood into adulthood, along with the ups and many downs of life in America during the Great Depression. I greatly enjoyed this book, along with Harry Bernstein’s first memoir, the Invisible Wall. The author had been writing his whole life, but didn’t write these two books (plus a third in the set) until he was in his nineties.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Terry Earley

    Very readable memoir focusing on his maturing love and respect for his mother and for his wife, Ruby. Also very interesting so see the evolution of his feelings and knowledge of his family, especially of his father and grandfather. When a 98 year old reviews his life, there are lessons for us to learn.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    4-. Jewish Immigrant story in1900’s. Very dysfunctional family with an interesting cast of characters.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jovana

    Beautifully written, but absolutely crushing. I don't know if my heart can handle Harry Bernstein's third, final memoir...

  11. 4 out of 5

    A

    What beautiful writing! It’s the second part of “The Invisible Wall”. It made me cry just as much.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Jiang

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am on a spree for reading "sad novels." Or at least moving ones. I actually had to plow through the first 4-5 pages of my library books to find one that was "grim/deep" enough and this one defintiely does it. If you've read the Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells, then you will love this novel. It is the same thing, a broken home with children and the idea of "escape", abuse of children's agency, and poverty. The difference is that Harry's mother is self sacrificing and loves her children deeply de I am on a spree for reading "sad novels." Or at least moving ones. I actually had to plow through the first 4-5 pages of my library books to find one that was "grim/deep" enough and this one defintiely does it. If you've read the Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells, then you will love this novel. It is the same thing, a broken home with children and the idea of "escape", abuse of children's agency, and poverty. The difference is that Harry's mother is self sacrificing and loves her children deeply despite her abusive husband, while Jeanette's parents were negligent and vagrant. Short summary (spoilers so don't read) Harry's life starts in England. It is a poor childhood and we are told immediately of "American dream" or the hope of living a better life. It starts with Harry's mother wishing for a parlor with red velvet seats, a piano, and nice furnishings, but she is forced to turn that parlor into a shop to sell faded vegetables and fruits to scrimp enough money for her family. Their father is a tailor but gambles and drinks his money away. He comes from a sad background himself despite the hatred that the author tries to at first convey for him. I appreciated that you almost feel bad for the abusive father, realizing that the universal truth here is that people who are difficult and miserable were probably unloved and not given that kind of love that they are expected to have. The father was forced to work and harden at a slaughterhouse. He is abandoned by his family and married off to a sweet innocent clueless girl. She is stuck now to bad tempered and abusive man, and he, abandoned by his family and is plagued by a fear of this abandonment by his family and his wife. Harry's mother writes letters to her husbands other sibilings in the US begging for steamship tickets. An unknown beneficiary sends the tickets and suddenly the family leaves. They arrive in Chicago and Harry narrates their broken life. Despite having friendly uncles and aunts, the family has to fend for themselves. Harry's older sibilings are forced to work early to bring home wages. They one by one leave by marriage or run away from the family's abusive father and problems, leaving Harry, his sister, and very young brother to fend for themselves and their mother. We find that the father has not improved and with more money, has become more hostile, drinking,and irresponsible. We find out that the grandfather makes money by pretending to be a beggar and he is the beneficiary because of his guilt of making Harry's mother marry his son when she was in love with another man. Harry and his mother and brother run away to NYC after all the sibilings have left and Harry graduates out of high school and has had enough of his father's abusive nature-- having a fist fight and jailing him. Harry begins to work to support his mother and brother. He has hopes of going to college but the dreams are dashed in the Great Depression. His only one hope is meeting his wife Ruby and the happy life she gives him and his mother from her love and goodness. It is a love that you hear of in movies and romances, and the reader by this time is so ready for something good that happens that it ends things right despite the death of Harry's mother. I almost felt, Harry's mother passes finally from exhuastion and rests in defeat, but to be honest, for a woman like her who has gone through so much, tolerating and almost dependent on her Husband b/c of pity of abandonment, she almost couldn't Rest In Peace. so the ending was fitting in strange sense. This novel is a memoir, so in a sense none of it is happy because we write when we super sad or super happy and this definitely not a happy novel. Despite this, I felt it was satisfying if you're looking for a good cathartic novel to help you escape and introspect about topics and mindset. It came at a good time for me, and I really appreciated the many depths and perspectives Bernstein gives-- not immediately labeling people as antagonists or protagonists but realizing the complexity of individuals.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really enjoyed his insights to perspective and vision. His balance with expectation and reality was very well done. I think there is much important information about the desperation of the times, about the effect of alcoholism before it was recognized as it is today and really about family dynamics. There were a few times that sentences were repeated and I know this was to introduce a deeper reflection of a situation but I think it is redundant. Of course, he can write any way that he wishes I really enjoyed his insights to perspective and vision. His balance with expectation and reality was very well done. I think there is much important information about the desperation of the times, about the effect of alcoholism before it was recognized as it is today and really about family dynamics. There were a few times that sentences were repeated and I know this was to introduce a deeper reflection of a situation but I think it is redundant. Of course, he can write any way that he wishes with the incredible experience he has had! I think the story reinforces that immigration does not change much over the years. The way that a vision is with one's expectations and getting one's feet planted, roots torn and shifted, all of the good and bad mumbled together...loyalties that feel cemented. I haven't read too many books that really dove into the late 20s and early 30s on a personal level and what that did to families so this was a powerful look with a real voice. His writing has sentimental quality. It touches on forgotten areas within a city and a shame that fosters survival. I would recommend it for YA 11/12th grades, too, as a pair to the dry, numerical economic studies of the crash and the Great Depression.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Harry Bernstein has lead a very interesting and relevant life. I'm not sure exactly what I mean by that but I think it's right. To be published at 96 is an accomplishment not to be trifled with. Harry wrote 3 books, The Invisible Wall, The Dream and The Golden Willow, all outstanding. This particular book covers the years of Harry's adolescence, living with his abusive, alcoholic father, the conditions in England during and after World War I and then of course, the great depression the US. While Harry Bernstein has lead a very interesting and relevant life. I'm not sure exactly what I mean by that but I think it's right. To be published at 96 is an accomplishment not to be trifled with. Harry wrote 3 books, The Invisible Wall, The Dream and The Golden Willow, all outstanding. This particular book covers the years of Harry's adolescence, living with his abusive, alcoholic father, the conditions in England during and after World War I and then of course, the great depression the US. While not an easy read, the writing style is engaging and real. Harry's mother dreams of a better life for her children and is sure that going to America is the right thing to do. After many missives to family members, begging for passage, anonymous steamship tickets magically appear and the new adventure begins. The family sets sail for America. They do well for a little while but soon the harsh realities of the great depression engulf them. A difficult time for all. They survive though it's a tough existence. The bright shining star in the future is that Harry meets Rose, the love of his life, and with endurance, life gets better for all concerned.

  15. 4 out of 5

    MJ

    I didn’t make the connection while I was reading it, but as I clicked off my kindle having finished the last sentence of Bernstein’s charming account of his childhood, and relation to his mother I couldn’t help comparing it to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. They both dealt with childhood poverty, immigration, alcoholic irresponsible fathers and comically controlling grandmothers. I loved both books but I kept asking myself why they were so different. It was The Dream; Harry’s mother was the one I didn’t make the connection while I was reading it, but as I clicked off my kindle having finished the last sentence of Bernstein’s charming account of his childhood, and relation to his mother I couldn’t help comparing it to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. They both dealt with childhood poverty, immigration, alcoholic irresponsible fathers and comically controlling grandmothers. I loved both books but I kept asking myself why they were so different. It was The Dream; Harry’s mother was the one filling her children’s head with hope. She was the one in the first book foraging for discarded food at the market to be sold in her daughter Rose’s beloved parlor that kept the family going. Frank’s mother was mentally ill, and unable to do not much more than stay in bed all day while her children were left to their own devices to forage for their own existence. Interesting how both Frank and Harry became great writers sharing their experiences with so many appreciative readers. Thank you to both of you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Loved it!! I love memoirs and the way he writes flows beautifully! This was his follow up to The Invisible Wall, another great book. Reading about the years of depression and the many tragedies and obstacles that he, his family, and millions of others faced during those years makes my problems seem so small! And, in spite of all the hardship, people were able to find joy and solace in simple things: a walk in the park, listening to free music concerts in a mall, having tea and coffee with friend Loved it!! I love memoirs and the way he writes flows beautifully! This was his follow up to The Invisible Wall, another great book. Reading about the years of depression and the many tragedies and obstacles that he, his family, and millions of others faced during those years makes my problems seem so small! And, in spite of all the hardship, people were able to find joy and solace in simple things: a walk in the park, listening to free music concerts in a mall, having tea and coffee with friends and family, even eating an apple!! I was impressed a few years ago when I read about Harry in a newspaper article and learned that he had published a first novel at the age of 96! You see, it is never to late to fulfill a dream or passion. He went on to write 3, and one is being completed posthumously. I am amazed at his courage, his fantastic memory, and his zest for life! He died at age 101, in 2011; but his memories live on!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    This memoir continues the story of the Bernstein family as they left industrial England and made their way in America. How do you make a living in Chicago or New York when you're the foreigner and the Depression has shaken the economy to its roots? While many family members were not terribly successful, others made their way on perseverance and ingenuity (and maybe a bit of opportunity provided by Prohibition). Just the story of how Bernstein and his Rose enjoyed New York on pennies is worth the This memoir continues the story of the Bernstein family as they left industrial England and made their way in America. How do you make a living in Chicago or New York when you're the foreigner and the Depression has shaken the economy to its roots? While many family members were not terribly successful, others made their way on perseverance and ingenuity (and maybe a bit of opportunity provided by Prohibition). Just the story of how Bernstein and his Rose enjoyed New York on pennies is worth the read. (The earlier memoir, The Invisible Wall, is about their lives in England. Both were written when Bernstein was in his 90s. )

  18. 4 out of 5

    CarolB

    Harry's family has emigrated to the USA in this sequel to The Invisible Wall. The story continues to be grim, with the drunken, volatile, violent father still making everyone around him quake in their worn-out boots. It ends like a Shakespearean tragedy, with most of the characters dead. It's a good look at the immigrant experience, at families dealing with the Depression, and with the moderation of traditional attitudes, but I was tired of many of the people long before this short book ended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    After reading the Invisible Wall I looked forward to reading the next chapter in Harry Bernstein’s life. As the family continues to struggle to survive in 1920s England, their mother’s wish is answered when a letter containing steamship tickets for America arrives. While the move to America doesn’t fix the neglectful, mean spirited father or lessen Rose’s hatred, there are more opportunities for Harry and his siblings, plus they relatives around them. It is an interesting first hand account of l After reading the Invisible Wall I looked forward to reading the next chapter in Harry Bernstein’s life. As the family continues to struggle to survive in 1920s England, their mother’s wish is answered when a letter containing steamship tickets for America arrives. While the move to America doesn’t fix the neglectful, mean spirited father or lessen Rose’s hatred, there are more opportunities for Harry and his siblings, plus they relatives around them. It is an interesting first hand account of living in America through the 20’s and 30’s.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bob Lake

    Perhaps this is "Angela's Ashes" redux, but it is a heartwarming memoir of the first 30 years of the life of a gentleman who is now 98. I tells of the glories and disasters of family life and of the mistakes we all make in our relationships. This is a must-read. NOTE TO KINDLE USERS: This has text-to-speech disabled!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Not quite as good as Invisible Wall, but I'm glad I read it so I'd know how their life went after they came to America. So sad that "the dream" never really came true for his mother.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Not as good as the invisible wall, but enjoyed reading how he overcomes all the obstacles and how his life turns out

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    A new world filled with many dreams and opportunities awaits the Bernstein’s, though the honeymoon phase comes to an end from the Great Depression. Slowly slipping away, Harry’s family all going their separate ways leading Harry to New York and his love. A love so strong with nothing is able to stand in the way of Harry marrying Ruby, his true love, not even his mother. With perseverance, a dream, determination, and love Harry is able to conquer all obstacles that are put in his life. The author A new world filled with many dreams and opportunities awaits the Bernstein’s, though the honeymoon phase comes to an end from the Great Depression. Slowly slipping away, Harry’s family all going their separate ways leading Harry to New York and his love. A love so strong with nothing is able to stand in the way of Harry marrying Ruby, his true love, not even his mother. With perseverance, a dream, determination, and love Harry is able to conquer all obstacles that are put in his life. The author Harry Bernstein keeps his memoir “The Dream” interesting by leaving out all the unnecessary information. He moves the story at a steady pace that keeps the reader hooked coming back for more. Filling the story with visual details giving the audience the ability to see, empathize, and be apart of the story. Though there were a few times in the book where events were drug out a little too long. Those who love to read about the history of the early 1900’s in America and the Great Depression this read would be a gain. For this is a memoir about real life events during that time that the reader will get wrapped into. Though for those who would rather stay in the modern twenty first century this read would be an unpleasant read, for those who would rather not read about the past and livelihoods unlike theirs should skip this read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mikki

    This was an OK follow-up to the author's first book about his early years, having moved from Manchester to America in 1922. This story skipped along at a fair pace, and I was moved by his account of how the hardships continued after the family's arrival in the USA despite his mother's dreams of a better life for them all, due to her husband's foul attitude and laziness and the Great Depression. Harry's father was a hateful man - vindictive, mean, violent, drunkard, thief - who made the family me This was an OK follow-up to the author's first book about his early years, having moved from Manchester to America in 1922. This story skipped along at a fair pace, and I was moved by his account of how the hardships continued after the family's arrival in the USA despite his mother's dreams of a better life for them all, due to her husband's foul attitude and laziness and the Great Depression. Harry's father was a hateful man - vindictive, mean, violent, drunkard, thief - who made the family members' lives miserable. As a reflection of the time in which it was set, the mother was only able to leave him temporarily, adhering to a 'promise' she made to her husband before they married: that she would stick with him. I found myself feeling angry and murderous, along with Harry, each time his father did something evil towards members of his family, especially Harry's mother. The cycle was only broken by two events - Harry met and married his soul mate, and his mother passed away (in her 60s - way too young but due to having suffered a hard life), after which he never saw his horrid, disgusting father again. I was amazed by how much Harry Bernstein recalled from his early days. I will read his subsequent novel about his life with his sweetheart, but not yet.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Christensen

    This is the second memoir that Harry Bernstein wrote covering the period of his life when they moved to America (from England) up until his marriage and the death of his mother. I enjoyed it as much as I did his first memoir. It reads more like a novel than a memoir. It was hard to imagine that these characters were real people going through such difficult circumstances. His mother was amazing and tragic. His father could not have made her life or his children's lives more miserable. The tragedy This is the second memoir that Harry Bernstein wrote covering the period of his life when they moved to America (from England) up until his marriage and the death of his mother. I enjoyed it as much as I did his first memoir. It reads more like a novel than a memoir. It was hard to imagine that these characters were real people going through such difficult circumstances. His mother was amazing and tragic. His father could not have made her life or his children's lives more miserable. The tragedy was really right there - a man who couldn't see how blessed he was with a faithful, loving wife and children who could have loved him and been a blessing to him had he been a different sort of man. I will definitely read the next memoir which is about his long, loving relationship with his wife of 67 years, Ruby.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Is there anything better than a Mother’s Dream for her children This is a very open and revealing story of a family following WW1 and arriving in America to live the dream of a better life. The story follows Harry Bernstein’s plight of familial relationships, hardships and life during the depression but most of all a very emotional relationship with his Mother and Bride Ruby during these hard times. The most unfortunate of all is to not be able to live that Dream in the end. I believe this tale Is there anything better than a Mother’s Dream for her children This is a very open and revealing story of a family following WW1 and arriving in America to live the dream of a better life. The story follows Harry Bernstein’s plight of familial relationships, hardships and life during the depression but most of all a very emotional relationship with his Mother and Bride Ruby during these hard times. The most unfortunate of all is to not be able to live that Dream in the end. I believe this tale was probably lived by many, many families during that time. It is well written and I recommend it to those who love memoirs. You won’t be disappointed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Years ago we read the author's first memoir, The Invisible Wall, for my bookclub. At that time, I added this follow-up book to my to-reads and just now got around to reading it. The events of the 98 year old author's life (this book explores the challenges of being Jewish during the time of the Great Depression and family issues such as an abusive, alcoholic father) make fascinating reading. The writing style is definitely a bit of "telling" and relating events rather than exploring emotions and Years ago we read the author's first memoir, The Invisible Wall, for my bookclub. At that time, I added this follow-up book to my to-reads and just now got around to reading it. The events of the 98 year old author's life (this book explores the challenges of being Jewish during the time of the Great Depression and family issues such as an abusive, alcoholic father) make fascinating reading. The writing style is definitely a bit of "telling" and relating events rather than exploring emotions and impacts of the events, but the almost unbelievable history alone makes this is a great book. I plan to read the author's third memoir as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    If you love historical fiction like I do, I highly recommend this book. It’s a memoir and first hand account of Immigrants who came from Poland, to England, and then to the US. It accounts the struggles and conditions of the life of Harry Bernstein and his family during the 1920s as they traveled and then as their lives moved on. This was a book that once I started reading I had a hard time putting down. The family’s situations and problems always keep you wondering what will happen next, especia If you love historical fiction like I do, I highly recommend this book. It’s a memoir and first hand account of Immigrants who came from Poland, to England, and then to the US. It accounts the struggles and conditions of the life of Harry Bernstein and his family during the 1920s as they traveled and then as their lives moved on. This was a book that once I started reading I had a hard time putting down. The family’s situations and problems always keep you wondering what will happen next, especially if you’re from Chicago or New York and are interested to read about life in the cities during these times.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Harry Bernstein waited until he was 95 to write this memoir of his growing up years. A large Jewish family is dominated and nearly destroyed by a drunken rage-a-holic father. This book is a cousin to The Glass Castle, except the father has no redeeming qualities or love for his wife or children. It is very frustrating and disheartening to read this story. I have no desire to read his other books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    D'anna

    Mr. Bernstein's vivid descriptions of coming to America and trying to live the Dream his mother always envisioned for her children is breath-taking. It is always refreshing to read someone speaking so fondly of their mother. A wonderful read, the chapters were not too long, not too short. I can't wait to read his other two books.

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