When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew: A Memoir


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
She Writes Press
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.4 X 0.7 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Hendrika de Vries was born and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She became a swimming champion, young wife, and mother in Adelaide, South Australia. She eventually got her BA and earned a Phi Beta Kappa in Denver, Colorado. A later move to Washington, DC precipitated a search for meaning and a spiritual quest that led to her immersion in the Depth Psychology of Carl Jung, an MTS in theology at Virginia Theological Seminary, a journey to Greece in search of the mythical Goddess, and a move to Santa Barbara, California, for an MA in counseling psychology. A Jungian-oriented marriage and family therapist for over thirty years, she has used dreams and intuitive imagination to facilitate recovery and healing of trauma, address life transitions and relational issues, and empower women. The mother of three grown children and four millennial grandchildren, de Vries now lives with her husband in Santa Barbara, where she writes and swims.


2019 Gold Winner in the Nonfiction Book Awards Shortlisted in the 2019 Sarton Women's Book Awards for Memoir "A riveting memoir of Nazi-occupied Amsterdam as seen through the eyes of a young Dutch girl. A mother and her daughter become fused in their struggle for survival as daily life grows increasingly dangerous. A hidden Jewish girl, a Gestapo interrogation at gunpoint, betrayals of neighbors, and near starvation during the Hunger Winter make this harrowing saga a tale of moral choice, spiritual stamina and resistance that has relevance for our times." --Patricia Reis, author of award-winning Motherlines: Love, Longing, and Liberation "This invaluable memoir is written in the authentic voice of a child but informed by a mature adult sensibility that continues to bring insights as it progresses. It portrays a real-life, 'ordinary' woman who risks her life and her daughter's to hide a Jewish girl who becomes a 'stepsister' in the home. This eminently readable book illuminates the bonds that develop between mother and daughter in wartime, the daily grind of home life under the Nazis, and the devastating consequences of the war even in a family where everyone survives. Don't start it in bed. You won't be able to put it down." --Mary Fillmore, author of An Address in Amsterdam, winner of the Sarton Women's Book Award for Historical Fiction and Kirkus Reviews Indie Book of the Month "The title of Hendrika de Vrie's memoir made me instantly curious about what it could mean; I wondered what myth could be lurking in its folds. But I could not have grasped the fierce pull of the narrative describing her world in Amsterdam from 1944 to 1950. It covers the horrific brutality of the Third Reich on her city and the suffering it engendered in inhuman forms of barbarism, but even more, it relates the astonishing strength of her mother, who kept the two of them alive during horrific conditions of survival, starvation, and then starting over. De Vries is a master storyteller." --Dennis Patrick Slattery, author of Riting Myth, Mythic Writing: Plotting Your Personal Story and A Pilgrimage Beyond Belief: Spiritual Journeys through Christian and Buddhist Monasteries of the American West "A young Dutch girl and her mother survive Nazi-occupied Amsterdam and the horrors of war--Jewish families being transported to their deaths, her mother's Gestapo interrogation at gunpoint after hiding a Jewish girl, summary executions, near starvation in the final six months of the Hunger Winter, and not knowing if her father is still alive after two years in a German POW camp. It is a nail-biting tale of female strength, spiritual resilience and resistance to evil that is relevant today. You won't forget this beautifully written story. My 15 year old granddaughter who loved Sarah's Key will devour this memoir." --Dr. Betsy Cohen, psychoanalyst, faculty at CG Jung Institute, author of Snow White Syndrome "With historical acuity and story telling genius about the traumatic events of WWII Amsterdam, this memoir offers a psychological frame that can guide anyone facing adversity. A mother and young daughter maintain hope and strength in a time of famine, betrayal and physical misery. The attitude and rituals invented by the mother, her courage, her love, are such that anybody reading this story will find, hidden between the lines, a wonderful example of parental guidance, of human dignity, and of feminine heroism. An extraordinary memoir of psychological wisdom, that moved me more than anything I have read in the past year." --Ginette Paris, author of Wisdom of the Psyche "This is a war story told through the eyes of a very alert young girl in wartime Netherlands. The courage and fierce regard for freedom that she sees in her mother at the most critical times, is a bridge that carries her over real dangers and propels her to chose life at its deepest and fullest. Just when you think that the story will have a soft ending, it dives down into the non-military collateral damage to and resiliency of the human spirit. On so many levels, I was enriched by this book." --The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, President and Founder of United Religions Initiative "Hendrika's memoir of her childhood in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam is an important, essential articulation of the decimation of her beautiful city, and the assault on Jews and non-Jews who attempted to resist during WWII. A reminder that the Nazis' goal to exterminate the Jewish people spread destruction to the whole human community, this beautifully and poignantly written memoir, captures the cruelty, but more importantly depicts the resiliency, courage, and perseverance of those who still believed in the goodness of humanity. A relevant message today; the pure, observant mind and heart of the child witness, awakens our sacred duty to remain faithful to the best, humane instincts in all of us." --Rabbi Mel Gottlieb, Ph.D., President, Academy for Jewish Religion "Reading Hendrika de Vries' memoir of her childhood in WWII Amsterdam was a real adventure for me, which stirred up many memories of my own less traumatic experience of those years. I am especially impressed by how superbly she communicates both the perspective of the child she once was and of her present self and by her richly detailed memories of the Hunger Winter of 1944-45, the absence of the father she loved, and her mother's bravery. She writes honestly, too, of the postwar difficulties for each of them--mother, father, child--when the father returned and they had to rediscover how to be a family once again. Hendrika is a fine, fine storyteller." --Christine Downing, Ph.D., scholar and author of numerous books including: The Goddess: Mythological Images of the Feminine and The Luxury of Afterwards "DeVries's book is a beautifully told story of the madness and joys circling everyday life in a child's neighborhood in wartime. The vividness of her memories serves to frighten in one moment and nourish the next. In that way her narrative is like a Northern European fairy tale--the old kind, gripping, devastating, and enchanting. Her understanding of the psyche of a family will be fascinating to people working with trauma and family therapies and epigenetic transmission of experience--even though she intentionally never leans on the language of these fields. Her inspiring story speaks eloquently for itself." --Nor Hall, author of The Moon & The Virgin: Reflections on the Archetypal Feminine "This gripping story of survival in Amsterdam during World War II is a tribute to the fiercely courageous mother who keeps her child, the author, and herself alive after her husband is shipped off to a Nazi work camp. Hendrika de Vries writes 'we were a generation of children raised in war and oppression who learned that people disappeared from their homes, from school, and off the street, and you did not ask questions.' This beautifully crafted memoir reminds us that we are never far from oppression by those who wish to silence us." --Maureen Murdock, author of The Heroine's Journey: Woman's Quest for Wholeness