“An Extraordinarily Beautiful Memoir”

Imagine my surprise when I checked out the Facebook page for my Phoenix Publishing and Book Marketing Group and found this blog posting about my book. Thanks Jack!

An Extraordinarily Beautiful Memoir

by Jack Dermody, September 22, 2016

At a Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup, it was enough for me to just glance quickly at Jan Krulick-Belin’s brand new memoirLove, Bill. The cover itself is a work of beauty. I met Jan a few days later for coffee, where I got to feel the pages, look at the photographs, and become awestruck with the research and careful thought that went into the production of this self-published masterpiece.

Love, Bill is a bittersweet story of knowing one’s father only at an early age, losing him, then having to play detective many years later to discover who Dad really was, what his relationship with Mom was, and why his unique character was a great reason for family pride for generations to come.

Jan spared no amount of time or money to create this work of love. Everything you read about successful self-publishing you will find in Love, Bill. An artful cover, high-level mainstream editing, the right choice of fonts, and a stellar overall design. She not only used her research skills for the project (as former Education Director at the Phoenix Art Museum), but detailed the work in painstakingly delivered references.

If you have ever researched your ancestors, you know how valuable a memoir like this can be. Most of the time, you are limited to core documents like birth certificates and obituaries. One rarely gets the whole story about their ancestors. Names and dates are boring, but stories are precious gifts.

In my own research for ancestors, I stumbled upon an uncle who turned out to be a novelist of note in the last century, friendly with the likes of Anais Nin. The best news was that his most important novel was simply a thinly disguised autobiography of himself and the family around him at an early age.

Writing a memoir is a special gift to generations perhaps hundreds of years in the future,so I believe we should all consider doing it. Believe me, good documents and good stories are more precious than diamonds. Everybody says they want to write, but few people do. If you are actually writing, then you might want to indulge yourself a glance at Jan’s memoir. With her as a role model, get crackin’ on your own (memoir) writing.


Dad and Mom, Wedding Day, January 4, 1948


Another great review!


This 5-star review was just posted on Amazon and Goodreads. I am continually impressed by the eloquence of the reviewers and so grateful that they took the time to write down their reaction to the book:

“The English author Alan Bennett stated, ‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you.’ Krulick-Belin has crafted an intriguing way of bringing the reader on a very emotional journey with her as she pieces together the story of her father’s life from her early childhood memories and his own words left as clues in love letters written to her mother. The book expands this collection of what could have been a neglected and forgotten box of personal love letters into a broader cultural and historical context that almost anyone at any age can relate to in many ways. Reading many of the “stage-setting passages” that connect the letters I was constantly transported to various times in my own life and reminded of things I hadn’t thought about in years. As Bennett says, I became flooded with feelings and ways of looking at similar events from my own past or thinking about my own family in similar ways. One of my favorite passages illustrates the author’s colorful writing style that immediately took me to almost forgotten memories of my own brief life with my father:

‘Our fathers teach us about strength, wisdom, and life’s practicalities. When they run along side of our two wheelers for the first time, they know when to hold on and when to let go…..before we learn to stand on our own two feet, we must first learn to dance by standing on theirs.’

Exhaustive and extensive background research, photos, documents and oral histories tap into WWII history, genealogy, Jewish culture, various religions and life in North Africa – and become the glue that connects the letters together to tell her father’s story and make the journey more relatable and interesting to the reader. Anyone interested in genealogy, American history or Jewish family life will appreciate Jan’s sleuthing descriptions, meticulous attention to details and organization as she leaves no stone unturned in this snapshot of not only her father and his life as a soldier, but how she pulled together the story of his life from the disparate pieces left behind.”

(LtoR) Antonio, Dad, Maurice Benhamou, and Aissa Karkour

(LtoR) Antonio, Dad, Maurice Benhamou, and Aissa Karkour