Tessie and Pearlie: A Granddaughter's Story

Joy Horowitz (Author)


In Tessie and Pearlie: A Granddaughter's story, journalist Joy Horowitz undertakes what turns out to be the most inspiring assignment of her life - spending time alone with her two Jewish grandmothers, Tessie and Pearlie, who are in their nineties. They are her heroes and her guides into old age. She chronicles their past and present and learns a little Yiddish along the way, keeping the continuum alive by offering a beautifully written celebration of family, passion, and Jewish cooking. Tessie and Pearlie are very different but remarkably similar. Tessie strictly observes Jewish ritual; Pearlie believes that religion resides in the heart. Like the matriarchs of the Old Testament, they have become nearly invisible to the outside world. But as keepers of the family legacy, they maintain their power through longevity. And Joy discovers that their lives are proof that sometimes there are men around and sometimes not, but life goes on either way. From the beauty parlor to the conga line, from latkes frying in the kitchen to a trip back to Ellis Island, Tessie and Pearlie teach us about living. And dying. Still close to their immigrant past and hardened by wars and the Depression and discrimination against Jews that began to dissipate only in the 1950s, they are the last of a breed - a generation passing but not likely to be forgotten. Here, two bubbes share their wisdom, knowledge, and recipes to die for. And their granddaughter asks questions of them others wouldn't dare mention, about sex, love, and motherhood.

Product Details

Touchstone Books
Publish Date
May 05, 1997
5.58 X 8.54 X 0.66 inches | 0.79 pounds
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About the Author

Joy Horowitz is a freelance journalist and former staff writer for The Los Angeles Times. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Magazine, and many other national publications. She graduated Harvard cum laude in 1975 and worked as a copy girl, sports writer, and investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.

After stints as an investigative producer at the local CBS-TV news station in LA and feature writer at The Los Angeles Times, she received a masters degree in Studies of Law (MSL) degree from Yale Law School in 1982.

She has been the recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her reporting on indoor air pollution for The Los Angeles Times, and Sunday Magazine Editors' Association award for her Los Angeles Times magazine article Greetings from Pearlie and Tessie, which was the basis for her 1996 book, Tessie and Pearlie: A Granddaughter's Story. In 2007, her second book, Parts Per Million: The Poisoning of Beverly Hills High School, was published and led to her being honored as an environmental hero in 2008 by the Environmental Relief Center in Los Angeles. That same year, she received an environmental journalism fellowship to study at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Joy now lives with her husband and children and dog in Santa Monica, California.