Tag Archives: 1950's

Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played Book Review

The relationship with our parents is not always black and white. We love them, we respect them, and we are grateful for what they have given us. But we can also be plagued by their flaws and what we wished we had received from them as children.

Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played, written by the iconic Broadway performer Tovah Feldshuh, was released last month. In the book, Ms. Feldshuh talks about her life and career while detailing the sometimes difficult relationship, she had with her late mother, Lily. Born in the Bronx and raised in Westchester town of Scarsdale, she lived the comfortable life of a young lady growing up in the middle class in the 1950’s.

Trying to live up to the ideals that her mother believed in, Tovah never quite received the emotional support she craved. It was only years later after her father had died that mother and daughter finally had the connection that did not exist in Tovah’s childhood. Balancing work, marriage, and motherhood, she finally understood Lily in a way that only occurs in adulthood.

This is easily one of the best books of 2021. It’s heartfelt, its humorous, and authentic. Though the details are specific to her life, it could easily be the story of any complicated parent/child relationship. What I took from the book is that it is possible to move beyond the unspoken words between us and our parents. It would have not been unexpected to slide into CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect). But the fact that they were able to not only get along, but understand each other, is a testament that it can be done.

I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Feldshuh play Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony years ago. It was one of the most powerful and enduring performances I have ever seen on stage.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Mental Health, New York City

Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel Book Review

For generations, the suburbs has been an ideal place to live. But as perfect as they may appear to be, no one can be predict what happens when the doors to the neighbors houses are closed.

Karma Brown‘s 2018 book, Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novel, takes place in the northern suburbs of New York City. The book follows two different women in two different time periods. In our time, Alice Hale worked in public relations before leaving the city and her career for a new life as a home owner and a writer. While her husband is at work, Alice has to get used to her new surroundings. While going down to the basement, she discovers old magazines, recipes, and a series of unsent letters written by a previous owner. In the 1950’s, Nellie Murdoch was a housewife who was living the dream. To the outside world, Nellie’s life is faultless. But if one were to step inside the Murdoch home, they would see that her marriage is not all sunshine and roses.

As she learns about Nellie, Alice begins to explore her own life and question her choices.

Brown is not the first author and will certainly never be the last one who uses this type of narrative. The book is not badly written. Far from it, the narrative is captivating and the characters fit well into the world. But it is missing a certain something that makes it stand out.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, New York City