Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jeanne Simonoff''s Little Classic is a Winner!
Monday, 06 December 2010 17:00

By Valerie Stocking "Author and Playwright" (Santa Fe, NM USA)

This is an extremely lyrical memoir of growing up in Los Angeles during the 1940's and '50's. Simonoff tells her story with great warmth and no self-pity, as she details being marginalized in a non-Jewish neighborhood. But this book is much, much more than an epic of anti-Semitism. Simonoff delves into her family, their relationships with her and with each other. Her courageous protest of the disappearance of both of her parents, despite reassurances that her father would return, resulted in Simonoff's conversion to Queen Stinky, who refused to bathe or eat until her father came home.

Instead of this being a tale of an abused child, with the traditional mean step-mom, Jeanne reveals her stepmother as a wonderful, warm, vital human being, who tells Jeanne she always wanted a daughter just like her. This book treads the middle ground between gosh-golly goodness and the afore-mentioned anti-Semitism, with grace and power.

An auspicious first book. I look forward to reading Simonoff's future work.