Synopses & Reviews
Ilene Beckerman's first book "illuminates the experience of an entire generation of women," wrote the New York Times Book Review
in a full page of praise for Love, Loss, and What I Wore
. It became a bestseller and inspired the hit Off-Broadway play by the same name. Now, Gingy returns with her fifth illustrated treasure, The Smartest Woman I Know
--a tribute to the insightful woman who raised her.
It's been said there's nobody as smart as an old woman. That's Gingy's grandmother, Ettie, though she had no more than a third-grade education. She dispensed unforgettable wisdom to Gingy and her sister, Tootsie, as well as to the customers at her and (her husband) Mr. Goldberg's stationery and magazine store, where customers ranged from Irish nannies to Sara Delano Roosevelt to Marlene Dietrich. Clever about life and love, food and men, Ettie had advice for everyone, and it didn't hurt that she got some of her best ideas from talking things over with God, out loud.
Known for bringing wit and emotion to issues that concern women, depth and poignancy to subjects as seemingly trivial as clothes, beauty, and bridesmaids, Gingy now magically brings the irrepressible Ettie Goldberg to life.
"The good news for readers of Beckerman's tale of her grandmother Ettie's practical wisdom: Ettie's epigrams are packaged in a quick, amusing read, complete with quirky illustrations. The bad news? There's not enough of it. Continuing reminiscences of her life that started with the much-praised Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Beckerman turns her focus to her Goldberg grandparents.Â In 1929 they established a candy store on the Upper East Side that eventually expanded to become Madison Stationers. Ettie was comfortable talking with clientele as varied as Sara Delano Roosevelt or an Irish nanny. What did she have in common with them?Â They were mothers; therefore, they worried. Beckerman's scanty sketches, literally and figuratively, of the six years she lived with the Goldbergs lack in-depth exploration of Ettie, whose dicta are sometimes revealing, but often merely platitudes, such as 'sometimes life is all about the song you sing.' Nevertheless, Beckerman has rendered a service to those for whom their forebears' immigrant experiences are remote, while at the same time lovingly honoring her grandmother. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Ilene Beckerman was nearly sixty when she began her writing career. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Ladies' Home Journal. She has judged People's "Best and Worst Dressed" issue and has traveled the country, speaking to women's groups. "Sometimes," she says, "i feel like Grandma Moses--she didn't start until later in life either--but i try not to look like her."