My Mother's Son

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Product Details
$23.95  $22.27
Fig Tree Books LLC
Publish Date
6.1 X 1.5 X 9.1 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author
David Hirshberg is the author of the debut novel My Mother's Son that won eight awards after it was published in 2018, and has published two short stories--A Gift in 2018 and Tikkun Olam in 2020. Hirshberg is a New Yorker who holds an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

"Hirshberg's debut novel packs both emotional punch and a vivid portrait of Jewish American life in post-WWII Boston. . . . Readers will find connections here to Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) and to Saul Bellow's classic The Adventures of Augie March (1953)." --Booklist, starred review

"This amazing mosaic of fact and fiction will hold readers in its grip from the first to last page." --Library Journal, starred review

"This colorful and complex portrait of a 1950s Jewish family is warm and nostalgic, yet grounded by deep history. . . . The narrative shifts from the past to the present, creating a colorful and complex portrait of a family from their immigration to their assimilation and eventual successes. The main voice belongs to Joel . . . [whose] memories are filled with larger-than-life personalities and recollections of an era when childhood seemed less complicated and more enjoyably collective. Beyond the novel's nostalgic humor, however, are deep reflections. . . . " --Foreword Reviews

"A moving coming-of-age story spiced with dark family secrets, historical references, dirty politics, and poignant immigrants' tales. . . . This journey from innocence to acceptance is satisfying, rich, and reflective." --Renita Last, Jewish Book Council

"Only occasionally does a novel like this come along--one that sculpts a vivid, irresistible portrait of a life and times. Evocative of the 1950s, with cinematic flashbacks and flash-forwards, it is clever, poignant and funny. Hirshberg allows the reader to eavesdrop on complicated 1950s family intimacies that had been clouded by years of denial, secrecy and self-preservation. What he exposes are the riches left behind, those that reveal the truth of the human condition. This is a book worth reading, probably more than once." --Mitch Markowitz, screenwriter of Good Morning, Vietnam

"My Mother's Son is an accomplished novel, told insightfully from a youngster's point of view. Compliments to David Hirshberg." --Mark L. Levinson, The Jerusalem Post

"'When you're a kid, they don't always tell you the truth.' With an opening line like that, it's easy to see why My Mother's Son by David Hirshberg should become a classic like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. . . . My Mother's Son is a pure joy to read, and a perfect antidote for today's times."

"Joel, one year retired from 47 years of telling stories five nights a week over a Boston radio station, begins the story of his boyhood with an accurate statement: 'When you're a kid, they don't always tell you the truth.' Joel's family didn't, as we slowly discover in the engrossing My Mother's Son, by David Hirshberg. . . . It's not difficult to read--it's difficult to put down. . . . Readers young in the 1950s will feel at home. Those younger can sense those times in a tale wonderfully told." --Neal Gendler, American Jewish World

"From the first page, David Hirshberg's novel is about a young man's understanding of the world into which he was born, questioning his mentors, because they don't 'always tell you the truth.' The pattern of initiation into adulthood is universal: the differences between what culture, friends and family tell us about the world, and what we discover ourselves. . . . Joel, the narrator in Hirshberg's novel (we never learn his last name), is growing up in a Jewish family from Brookline in the middle of the 20th century. The timing of the 1950s is significant. The times anticipated the future we inherited. Technological, political, and social changes, from the post-World War II era, are felt today. . . . "--Len Abrams, The Jewish Advocate

"This is one beautiful book. It portrays a pivotal period in U.S. history flavored by the scrambling lives of European immigrants, their acculturated children, and their more fully Americanized grandchildren. . . . [A] beautifully prepared feast of wisdom and discovery." --Philip K. Jason, Federation Star, L'Chayim, and The Jewish News

"[A] wonderful coming-of-age novel. . . . with fascinating, warm, credible characters." --Washington Jewish Week

"David Hirshberg has written an engrossing novel that belongs in the canon of great American Jewish literature. Filled with stories of concealed truths, shattering discoveries, and unconditional love, My Mother's Son is a twenty-first century exploration of the formative American Jewish experiences of the twentieth century. It transports the reader to that other time even as it speaks to the urgent concerns of today." --Dan Libenson, founder and president of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future and co-creator of the Judaism Unbound podcast

"Sometimes it's the lies we grow up with--more than the truths--that define who we are and where we come from. That's the message of David Hirshberg's coming-of-age novel, My Mother's Son. Through the eyes of young Joel, we witness essential elements of the mid-twentieth century: the scourge of polio, the magic of baseball, the repercussions of war, and the development of modern Jewish-American culture. But above all, we come to understand why Joel is his mother's son--and how that phrase resonates for us all. A deceptively simple, profoundly memorable novel." --Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, author of The Last Dreamer

"Rich with themes and memories . . . I suggest you hit up your favorite way of getting a book. . . and read My Mother's Son by David Hirshberg that way!" --Nadine Lipman, The Jewish Leader

"The love and caring the members of Joel's extended family show for each other shines throughout Joel's tale. However, it's the author's ability to capture Joel's youthful innocence and his growing ability to understand the world that makes this coming-of-age story stand out." --Rabbi Rachel Esserman, The Reporter

"[A]n interesting, colorful, picaresque novel based in Boston at an important time not only in American history, but American Jewish history. . . . " --Rabbi Sam Cohon, "Too Jewish" Podcast

"My Mother's Son starts out as a story of a family's life in Jewish Boston and grows as big as a century. Fascism lurks. Polio carries off its prey. Only-in-Boston characters pop up. To wit: Murph Feldman, the Jew of Southie. Time rushes in only to roll back as the stories within stories reveal truths not only about one family and one city, but about America in the 1950s and, by extension, today. Hirshberg is a raconteur who feels no need to stop to get a sip of water." --Paul Goldberg, author of The Yid and 2017 Finalist--Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and 2016 Finalist - National Jewish Book Award Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction

"Reading My Mother's Son is like opening up a time capsule and sifting among the treasures. 1952 Boston comes alive as David Hirshberg weaves the artifacts of that year into the fabric of his poignant narrative. This provocative novel is the colorful description of life as seen through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Joel, and at the same time, a telling and re-telling that allows adult Joel to process and decipher the truths and richness of all that transpires. I enjoyed it from beginning to end." --Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, author of Eden: A Novel

"My Mother's Son is a richly sprawling and singular Jewish-American saga. It echoes with an unwashed Boston brogue and a heart that beats with a Holocaust past. And it entertains with wit, humor and secrets both dark and luminously incandescent." --Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham and Second Hand Smoke

"David Hirshberg's engrossing debut not only captures the coming-of-age of a young boy in the wake of WWII, it also layers hidden identities, family secrets, and larger-than-life characters from Boston's past into a story that will leave readers deeply satisfied." --Crystal King, author of Feast of Sorrow

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