The Takeaway Men

Written by Meryl Ain
Review by Lorelei Brush

The Takeaway Men begins with Edyta, a Catholic teenager, busy smuggling Jewish toddlers out of the Kielce (Poland) ghetto to the safety of a local convent, knowing she could die for her efforts. On an all too regular basis, the “takeaway men” invade the ghetto to transfer residents to concentration camps. But for most of her life, Edyta has been infatuated with the Jewish doctor’s son, Aron, whom she hides from the Nazis in her attic and then joins in the forest. They marry, have twin girls in a displaced persons camp, and eventually emigrate to the US to live with older cousins they have never met.

The new multi-generational family meshes well, though Aron is troubled by his memories, more religious than the rest of the group, and secretive. He hides the fact that Edyta isn’t Jewish, knowing that his relatives are upset by their own son marrying a gentile. The family faces several trials as the girls strive to fit in with their American friends, their father holds to traditional attitudes, and the daughter of their hosts returns to disrupt their harmony.

This novel is an easy read with a strong story line. The reader can imagine each character and the situations in which the family is caught. However, I felt that the story was being told to me by a narrator rather than lived by the characters, who didn’t seem to experience the depth of emotions that the scenes should have engendered.