Seven Springs: A Memoir
One afternoon in the spring of 1972, a Mack truck sped through a residential intersection and collided with a station wagon carrying a young girl and her friend on a ride home from school. The accident shattered the girls’ realities. A blanket of silence fell over them until they reconnected at their twentieth high school reunion. That conversation set the young girl on a twenty-year journey—reflected in seven springs—that reunited her to her past, her self, and what she now understands as faith.
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-951651-82-4 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Ellen Blum Barish’s award-winning personal essays have appeared in numerous publications, aired on Chicago Public Radio, and told on many Chicago-area storytelling stages. She earned a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University, where she teaches writing. Her literary publication Thread earned four notables in Best American Essays. Ellen facilitates writing workshops and works privately with writers on personal narratives. She is the author of the essay collection Views from the Home Office Window: On Motherhood, Family and Life (Adams Street Publishing, 2007). She lives with her husband, David, in the Chicago area and has two grown daughters.
“In an era of growing appreciation for the long-term ramifications of trauma, Ellen Blum Barish’s memoir offers a tender exploration of the shock and loss around a childhood car accident. Barish traces the ripples of this seemingly simple trauma into relationships, physical health, emotional wellbeing, and her Jewish faith, making of them a heartfelt, engaging story. I recommend it.”
“In her new memoir, Seven Springs, Ellen Blum Barish explores big questions about what makes a life. She does so in two compelling narrative threads: one examining a car accident that occurred when she was a girl, and the aftermath of that experience; the other delving into the underpinnings of her faith life and how that faith informs her relationships and her place in the world. When she becomes a mother, she engages the tradition. The fruit of that study informs this memoir. ‘Judaism,’ Barish observes, ‘is by its very nature an ongoing conversation.’ That conversation, which she joins and shares, enriches this absorbing story.”
“A thoughtful meditation on the nature of trauma, memory, and Judaism. In Seven Springs, Ellen Blum Barish illustrates how shared experiences stamp each life in a unique way. This inspiring work calls upon readers to be introspective and assemble the puzzle pieces of their own lives.”
“In lyrical prose and with the sensibility of a reporter on a mission, Ellen Blum Barish begins an excavation of her life that leads her back, again and again, to the car accident she survived as a child. . . . This memoir is an exploration of family, friendship and faith, and of what happens when we find our voices after too many years of being silenced. This is a beautiful book, both familiar and surprising, and Ellen Blum Barish is a beautiful writer. Seven Springs is a gift that will invite any reader to see his or her own past with a fresh perspective.”
“The truths that Ellen finds through her own brave journey are truths that resonate for all of us. . . . She roots her reader in scenes that are rendered so exquisitely we become conjoined in her discovery. . . . Ellen’s writing holds the power to open hearts and minds, and leave us all with deeper understandings of ourselves and our place in this world.”
“Ellen Blum Barish brings real life to life with a strong sense of narrative, the unswerving observation of a reporter, and an abiding commitment to meanings that run deep. She hones in on day-to-day experiences and won’t let us go until we see the connectedness she’s found, the underlying causes we might have missed, the richness that is in us and in our relationships.”
“Excavating memory, Ellen Blum Barish circles back through personal history to make sense of silence—that is imposed upon us, and how we can finally trust ourselves to speak. An intricate investigation of the past, exploring how we might reach back in time to change our present.”
Lori Dube, “Tikkun Olam: A New Memoir That Repairs a Jewish Author’s Shattered Memories,” Boulder Jewish News, June 2021
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