Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Moving Story of Veterans

Breaking the Code:  A Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey and the Question That Changed Everything by Karen Fisher-Alaniz
I hate to admit this because it will make me seem hard-hearted but I have never really been all that patriotic.  I don't attend Veteran's Day activities; I don't lay wreaths at Memorial Day; I've never attended a Veteran's Day parade; no American flags fly in my yard.  I suppose it is because no war has ever touched my life.  None of my family members ever served in the service and I know no one who has ever been in a war or battle.  While I have often read war stories and shuddered at the brutality of war, none of them ever really touched me in a personal way.

Until this story.

Breaking the Code is the true story of a daughter who finds a connection to her father through his memories of war.  One day, out of the blue, the father hands his daughter two notebooks full of letters that he wrote home during the war.  While she had heard all these stories as a child, she really didn't appreciate the significance of them.

As she reads more, the full story of her father emerges and she, as well as the reader, is astonished to discover what he went through and what a true hero he is and was all along.  That is the real power of this book--to look beyond the age of a person and validate the experiences they bring to our lives.  This intergenerational story will have you looking beyond the wrinkles and familiarity when you gaze at your parents and grandparents and will make you wonder what amazing and wondrous stories have you been missing all these years?

This is also a story for all Veterans and their families and serves as a reminder of the validation they need after returning to American soil.  Even though they return to a normal life, those painful and nightmarish memories still stay inside, bottled up.  This book helped me to realize that those sacrifices of war and service last long after any battles have ended.

It is also a story of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and brings home how it can affect soldiers and their families years later; how one event can haunt and affect families.  In the end, this book is a plea to not forget our Veterans and to remember and celebrate their service. 


  1. Carla - Thank you for reading our book. I am so moved that the story has in some small way caused you to pause and grow. That really speaks to your character, I believe. As a writer, as the daughter of one of the "walking wounded", that means more to me than anything. My fathers story is just one of thousands. Take care. ~Karen

  2. Thank you for the review. I actually think there are a lot of people out there exactly like you. I'm glad my father's story made a difference to you. ~Karen