Johanna Adorjan’s memoir, “An Exclusive Love” starts with the sentence, “On 13 October 1991 my grandparents killed themselves”. If that isn’t a line that will draw you in, I don’t know what will!
This is the story of her grandparents and their suicide and what caused them to take their lives, but it also seemed that this story was a way for Adorjan to come to terms with what happened on October 13, 1991. She recounts in the novel how she thinks the days activities took place and draws conclusions about why they chose this path together. Adorjan had a sense that this might be the path her grandparents take and even verbally expressed it before it happened. Her grandfather Istvan was ill and she knew that her grandmother Vera wouldn’t want to live on this earth without him.
Both Istvan and Vera experienced the horrific life of being a Jewish individual during Hitler’s reign. Istvan spent time in a concentration camp as well and although he refused to speak of it years later, Adorjan knows one thing about that experience and that was her grandfather’s ability to stand up while sleeping, knowing that one slight movement could end his life.
Having little to go on about their experience with the Holocaust and their decision to take their own lives, Adorjan begins to ask family and friends of her grandparents to try to piece together some kind of conclusion. Her determination and resilience is portrayed through and through on each page of her outstanding memoir.
Dedicating this story to her Father (whose parents were Istvan and Vera), Johanna Adorjan conveys a love story like no other. Her depiction of what happened on that day is so detailed that we, the reader begun to accept that her drawn conclusions are fact and their decision to take their lives is indeed a way to choose how their lives ended. It’s a story that depicts love, strength and family and I hope that all of you pick it up because it was a fabulous story from page 1 to page 192.