Author: David HirshbergNovember 10, 2017
“My Mother’s Son” by David Hirshberg
Elyse Walters Nov 10, 2017
A highly pleasurable novel…engrossing and irresistible!
We are transported back to the 1950’s through the voice of Joel, who for forty-seven years had worked as a radio raconteur. Upon retirement, Joel writes his memoir: “Reflected in it is a story both personal and universal that I skirted around gingerly for all these years, a memoir about betrayal, disease, gambling, death, bribery, persecution, kidnapping, war, politics, escape, loyalty, forgery, unconditional love, depression, Marines, theft, girls, and a dog”.
For most of Joel’s growing years in Boston, if you had asked what he wanted to be when he was growing up… he might have said a baseball player, veterinarian, an accountant, a furniture dealer, or a doctor…. but the reality was he had no idea of what he was going to do – for those 47 years – or what he wanted to be – until he did it. Yet as we follow along – side by side – as the 13 year old Joel tells us his story – it’s doesn’t seem surprising that Joel did in fact become “The Guy On The Radio”.
The first sentence of this novel is powerful and profound but grows even richer in meaning as we journey through the delightful storytelling by debut author David Hirshberg.
“WHEN YOU’RE A KID, THEY DON’T AWAYS TELL YOU THE TRUTH”.
This book is a family-saga fiction story — with fabulous characters: Joel’s older brother by 2 years, Steven, mom, dad, Auntie Rose, (with her wonderful inserted diary readings), Uncle Jake, Old Uncle A, Papa, Noodge Mauer, Myandrew, Frankie, Morone, Mr. Perini, Mr. Carlson, Susie, BlueDog,etc…….
This novel is also literary fiction- historical fiction – and Jewish fiction….. taking place in Boston 1952…during the polio epidemic- the world of baseball: ( The Boston Braves relocate to Milwaukee and all the drama it entailed)…post-WWII Boston, the aftermath of the Holocaust, The Korean War, Jewish experiences in America, and overall American Culture through our politicians, businessman and daily life.
The heart of this story – is a personal profound lie- which Joel discovers through the process of living itself. I found it deeply moving – and am still thinking about it.
“To be a kid, baseball is leather mitts, rubber balls, wooden bats, insignias, pennants, parks, and hotdogs. Polio is doctors, hospitals, shots, paralysis, wheelchairs, and lowered voices. War is salutes and metals, pretend battles, make-believe deaths, days off from school, guns, and parades. Politics is elections, Speeches, buttons, flags, handshakes, history, and rallies.”
“These were the things I knew, for sure, in Boston in 1952. They were truths. They were no less true than the knowledge that my parents wouldn’t lie to me, that the mystery of girls would never be revealed to me, that death came only to the old, and man’s best friend was a dog.By the end of that year, I can tell you that I still believed the thing about the dog”.
Emotionally satisfying!!!!! I cried quietly about 10 minutes ‘after’ I had finished reading this book. The richness is substantial! – enough to make this woman cry.