Saturday, October 03, 2009


A self-confessed chocoholic, it took me about a week to consume Chocolate Girls after my Mum had recommended it. A very sweet piece of chick-lit set in wartime Birmingham, about the lives of three women who work at the Bournville chocolate factory.

The story resonated with me because I could recall childhood trips to the Cadbury factory, but it was really the subplot about David; an exiled German Jew who was found as a child and adopted by one of the women, that was the most arresting part of the story. The descriptions of the burnt out synagogue in Berlin, and the family's house in Charlottenburg set memories flooding back to me. David is estranged from his Jewish heritage, and makes Aliyah back to Israel to reunite with his father, who suffered in a concentration camp under the Nazi regime.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to reconnect with my own family, the missing half of my own identity - out of Africa, in Australia, and coldest Scotland. The voices and faces which keep people asking questions "your accent sounds American/Australian/kind of lazy/very English" or to comment "you don't look at all like your mother" and "that's an unusual name, what's the story". Sometimes, it is hard to forge a coherent identity and easier to lie to people about my origin than to admit the fuzziness, the lack that faces me in the mirror. Ultimately though, I decided to create my self through the life I choose to lead, and my identity is not stamped upon me according to the experiences of my family. Maybe this is true for everyone?

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