Author: David HirshbergJuly 3, 2018
My Mother’s Son by David Hirshberg, reviewed by Svetlana Libenson
In 1952, Joel is a twelve-year-old boy surrounded by a colorful cast of characters that find themselves in shady business dealings, including loaning money, rigging and fixing teams or horse races, and so much more. Set in post-World War II, other timely events take place, and Joel acts as our eyes and ears to tell the stories of the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Korean War, the polio epidemic, as well as his own family’s secrets.
“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, spanning the length of one year from 1952 to 1953. This is a story that deals with an immersive reality of living in 1952 when the Holocaust was a mere shadow, polio a threat to life, and when coming-of-age meant figuring out reality from fantasy, which the story presents in hefty doses. It’s impressive that the character of Joel is on target for his age, and isn’t asking me to suspend my belief that he knows everything there is to know. Joel is very inquisitive and isn’t afraid of asking tough questions as well as finding out the tough answers for them.
MY MOTHER’S SON is a pure joy to read, and a perfect antidote for today’s times. This is really a story that has something for everyone be it mysteries, suspense, sports, romance, even history. Entertaining, comedic and extremely nostalgic, MY MOTHER’S SON is a story of the heart that echoes from today to 1952 and it dares to ask whether things were as simple in the “good old days” as we’d like to think, when in fact life back then was just as complicated. I would recommend MY MOTHER’S SON by David Hirshberg for readers who love historical fiction, baseball, coming-of- age stories, family mysteries and Judaic elements.