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The Choice by Edith Eva Eger

The Choice

by Edith Eva Eger

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Quick take

Speaking to the resilience of the human spirit in even the hardest of circumstances—a beacon of hope for our times.

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    Writer's life


It’s 1944 and sixteen-year-old ballerina and gymnast Edith Eger is sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience. The Choice is her unforgettable story.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Choice.
The Choice


I Had My Secret, And My Secret Had Me

I didn’t know about the loaded gun hidden under his shirt, but the instant Captain Jason Fuller walked into my El Paso office on a summer day in 1980, my gut tightened and the back of my neck stung. War had taught me to sense danger even before I could explain why I was Afraid.

Jason was tall, with the lean physique of an athlete, but his body was so rigid he appeared more wooden than human. His blue eyes looked distant, his jaw frozen, and he wouldn’t—or couldn’t—speak. I steered him to the white couch in my office. He sat stiffly, fists pressing into his knees. I had never met Jason and had no idea what had triggered his catatonic state. His body was close enough to touch, and his anguish practically palpable, but he was far away, lost. He did not even seem to notice my silver standard poodle, Tess, standing at attention near my desk, like a second living statue in the room.

I took a deep breath and searched for a way to begin. Sometimes I start a first session by introducing myself and sharing a little of my history and approach. Sometimes I jump right into identifying and investigating the feelings that have brought the patient to my office. With Jason, it felt critical not to overwhelm him with too much information or ask him to be too vulnerable too quickly. He was completely shut down. I had to find a way to give him the safety and permission he needed to risk showing me whatever he guarded so tightly inside. And I had to pay attention to my body’s warning system without letting my sense of danger overwhelm my ability to help.

“How can I be useful to you?” I asked.

He didn’t answer. He didn’t even blink. He reminded me of a character in a myth or folktale who has been turned to stone. What magic spell could free him?

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Why I love it

When I recommend books to people in my life, I really try to tailor my suggestions to the readers they are for. A friend looking for inspiration after a long day at work would rarely receive the same recommendation as a relative looking for something to sink into on a long vacation. But every once in a while, I come across a book that everyone in my life can get something out of. The Choice, a moving, inspiring memoir from renowned psychologist Dr. Edith Eva Eger, is one of those books.

In the book’s first section, Eger recalls the harrowing period she spent as a prisoner of Auschwitz. A 16 year old with training as a ballet dancer, Eger was forced to dance for a Nazi officer in the hopes of survival. In the years to come, Eger wrestles with lingering memories, trauma, and guilt over having survived while others—including her parents—did not. But as Eger’s journey continues, she begins to find healing not only for herself, but for the countless others who are positively impacted by her story and work as a psychologist.

The Choice is an act of truth-telling, a historical record, and a compassionate portrait of suffering, healing, and forgiveness. But above all, this book is an act of generosity: By opening up about the dark events of her past and her decades-long journey toward healing and transformation, Eger gives readers a reason to hope. The Choice is at once utterly unique and brimming with universal truths. I’ve no doubt you’ll find it an inspiration, too.

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Member ratings (2,709)

  • Claudia D.

    Ladera Ranch, CA

    I’ve never read/heard a Holocaust survivor story that hasn’t made me cry, but Eger touched me with her words in a special, spiritual way. She’s amazing, and I wish I could meet her and give her a hug!

  • Jaime R.

    Tempe, AZ

    I absolutely adored this book! It was beautifully written and I couldn’t put it down once I started. This book changed my life and Grandma Edie’s words will resonate with me forever & for the better.

  • Bailey R.

    Clarkston, WA

    Such a thoughtful and well-written book! Loved every story & every lesson that was told in this book. Will definitely be reading it again in the future! Even thought it’s a memoir, it’s so captivating

  • Allyson V.

    Lancaster, CA

    Dr. Eger weaves together her powerful and inspirational personal experience with therapeutic concepts and examples to teach readers that “the choice” is always yours. Flip victimization on its head.

  • Caitlin M.

    Norwalk, CT

    A beautiful story of survival and how we choose to carry on; how “The Choices” determine the direction of our love, loss, and life. It was a treat that it read like two book; history and psychology.

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