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Other titles in the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction series:
Dough: A Memoir (Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creati)by Mort. Zachter
Synopses & Reviews
Mort Zachters childhood revolved around a small shop on Manhattans Lower East Side known in the neighborhood as the day-old bread store.” It was a bakery where nothing was baked, owned by his two eccentric uncles who referred to their goods as the merchandise.” Zachter grew up sleeping in the dinette of a leaking Brooklyn tenement. He lived a classic immigrant story--one of a close-knit, working-class family struggling to make it in America. Only they were rich.
In Dough, Zachter chronicles the life-altering discovery made at age thirty-six that he was heir to several million dollars his bachelor uncles had secretly amassed in stocks and bonds. Although initially elated, Zachter battled bitter memories of the long hours his mother worked at the bakery for no pay. And how could his own parents have kept the secret from him while he was a young married man, working his way through night school? As he cleans out his uncles apartment, Zachter discovers clues about their personal lives that raise more questions than they answer. He also finds cake boxes packed with rolls of two-dollar bills and mattresses stuffed with coins.
In prose that is often funny and at times elegiac, Zachter struggles with the legacy of his enigmatic family and the implications of his new-found wealth. Breaking with his familys workaholic heritage, Zachter abandons his pragmatic accounting career to pursue his lifelong dream of being a writer. And though he may not understand his family, in the end he realizes that forgiveness and acceptance matter most.
"'After losing his job as an accountant, enrolling in night law school and taking out a second mortgage to support his family, Zachter answered the phone in 1994 and was asked by a banker if he would like to take control of his uncle Harry's seven-figure money market account. What he at first assumed was a practical joke turned out to be true — Harry had been living like a pauper in a housing project while running a 'day-old bread store' on New York's Lower East Side for 60 years. Zachter's memoir alternates between his imaginings of daily life at the bakery from the 1940s through the '60s and his unearthing of his family's financial secrets in the 1990s. Upon stumbling on a stockpile of crumbling two-dollar bills stashed away in Harry's fruitcake boxes, a relative jokes that Zachter really is from old money. In seeking to reconcile decades of financial stress with his sudden inheritance, Zachter notes, 'Multiple lifetimes of nothing but hard work and deprivation had amassed this fortune. But what good had it done?' The answer, he decides after realizing that he will never have to worry about paying the bills, is in 'the gift of time' to write this book. This rich story pays off with honest but lighthearted discoveries about loyalty and wealth. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
In this award-winning memoir, Zachter recounts now he was able to pursue his dream of becoming a full-time writer through an unexpected inheritance from immigrant uncles who ran a day-old bread store in Manhattan's Lower East side. He learned that they made considerable dough, not from the bakery they ran, but from stocks and bonds. This is an engaging twist of a story on the American dream and family relations. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Mort Zachters childhood revolved around a small shop on Manhattans Lower East Side known in the neighborhood as the day-old bread store. It was a bakery where nothing was baked, owned by his two eccentric uncles who referred to their goods as the merchandise. Zachter grew up sleeping in the dinette of a leaking Brooklyn tenement. He lived a classic immigrant storyone of a close-knit, working-class family struggling to make it in America. Only they were rich.
About the Author
Mort Zachter is currently working on a book about baseball legend Gil Hodges. His writing has appeared in Fourth Genre, Moment, Weatherwise, and Poetica. His memoiristic essay, "The Boy Who Didn't Like Money," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Before he became a full-time writer, Zachter had careers in law and accounting. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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