Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family by Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D.

tn-tn-dpt-et-the-latest-1-jpg-20140418Growing up in Minsk behind the cold veil of the Iron Curtain, Katherine Agranovich’s most fervent desire is to become a doctor – but after years of hard work, study, and optimism for her own future, Katherine is laughed out of her interview with the college’s bigwigs, her application stamped with a vibrant red “REJECTED” just because she is a Jew, and a non-practicing Jew at that!  Immediately, she recalls all the times she had been bullied by her classmates as a child, ostracized from the group by her religion.  How could these terribly unfair things still be happening to her as an adult?  Yet, despite Katherine’s somewhat disadvantaged upbringing, her future holds some bright opportunities.  Just a few short weeks after her medical college rejection, she goes on a date with her future husband, Felix, and the couple leaps at the chance to immigrate to the United States where they can live their lives both freely and happily.  Soon, Katherine and Felix start growing their family, and the house becomes comfortably crowded with love and laughter – which isn’t to say that the Agranovich clan doesn’t face its own share of hardships.  There is Katherine’s daughter, Jessica, who is born with a rare blood condition that causes the young girl undue amounts of pain.  And Felix’s business partner reveals himself to be far less generous than the family had believed.  But the Agranovich’s soon learn that every tragedy also offers opportunity, and Katherine and her family gradually come to know the pervasive spiritual forces that govern their lives, sending everyone on a lifelong journey of self-discovery.

Tales of My…Family is a quirky, eye-opening non-fiction account that challenges readers to remain open-minded.  But even the book’s own author acknowledges that certain encounters with spiritual beings – among them an angelic financial advisor and a diminutive plant fairy – seem too ludicrous to be real.  However it is taken, Tales of My…Family sparkles with warmth, humor, and teachable moments that will undoubtedly encourage introspection in its readers.  In the end, Agranovich is not asking us to adopt her family’s admittedly nontraditional outlook on life – she is merely asking that we remain open to the beauty and mystery of the world that surrounds us, both seen and unseen.

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