My Mother’s Son – Library Journal

Author: David Hirshberg

February 15, 2018

Library Journal starred review 

DEBUT Everyone lies when they’re telling family stories, particularly when they’re speaking to children. This is what Joel, the narrator of this fascinating debut by a pseudonymous author discovers as he matures. In the memories of his childhood in post–World War II Boston, Joel recalls friends and relatives who are not quite what they appeared to be. His Jewish, Italian, and Irish neighbors are all interested in making a living, much of it illegally by cooking the books, betting on sure winners at the track, or fixing elections. They use Joel and his brother to deliver messages to the appropriate individuals. Later, as Joel grows up and becomes a popular radio storyteller, he learns the truth about his family and friends, who they really were, and what they actually did to survive. VERDICT In recalling the polio epidemic of the 1950s, the Korean War, Holocaust memories, the relocation of the Boston Braves to Milwaukee, and the election of John F. Kennedy, Hirshberg offers us a glimpse of the past through the eyes of a young boy moving into his teens. This amazing mosaic of fact and fiction will hold readers in its grip from the first to last page.—Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS