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An American Family

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  11 reviews
The sprawling narrative of five siblings, born in the 1940's, beginning on the day John Kennedy was shot and ending on 9/11. Between these two iconic dates, we follow the fortunes, love affairs, marriages, divorces, successes and failures of the Perls, an immigrant Polish-Jewish family, from the Lower East Side of New York, to Long Island and beyond.

The oldest, Jackie -- a...more
Kindle Edition, 454 pages
Published March 25th 2012 (first published January 1st 2012)
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Ryan G
When I was given the opportunity to read a new Peter Lefcourt book, I jumped at the chance. Now granted, I've only read one of his books before, but that book is one that I've read countless times. I can't even remember the first time I read The Dreyfus Affair, but it was love at first read. I was enamored with the characters, the humor, and the way the author was able to write this compelling love story but make me laugh, cry, and regain my faith in my fellow man all at the same time. So when t...more
I love a novel that brings me into the heart of family drama, and An American Family does this for not just a short period of time, but spans at least a fifty year period. We follow the triumphs and trials of this Jewish family taking special note of happenings on the Thanksgiving and Passover Holidays.

Lefcourt did a wonderful job of taking us on a journey with this family, that will help you recall specific things during this time yourself. From a 17" Magnavox television to a cut and a perm cos...more
3.5 stars

This review originally appeared at

“Mazeltov!” cried the new guy in the office when I returned from my honeymoon. When I thanked him, he added, “ah-ha! We can spot each other a mile away.”

Needless to say, he was a little saddened when I explained that I’m not Jewish.

But this odd little anecdote highlighted something for me that I’ve seen amongst many of my Jewish friends: an astonishing sense of family and community. And it’s this that Peter Lefcourt’s An Am...more
Before I begin this review, I have to admit it, I have to come clean - I am a pretend, wannabe, counter-culture hipster who tends to be mistrusting of anything that comes out of Hollywood, except summer blockbuster movies (I mean, have you SEEN "The Avengers"!?!?) and the Hemsworth brothers (yum!). So naturally, I was apprehensive about reading this novel, given that I did not know very much about author Peter Lefcourt. So with that being said, I also confess to you...I was wrong, I was wrong, I...more
Meet the Perl family...Nathan, Lillian, Jacob "Jackie", Michael, Elaine, Steven, and Bobbie. The day is Friday, November 22, 1963. This day will go down in history as one of the most memorable days in history. The day that President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. The Perl family can remember that day but life does go on. Eventually the Perl family survive the Vietnam War, Woodstock, drugs, aids, homophobia, and the attack of September 11th. No matter, how many different directions, they travel...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
I love stories about families! The Perl family is a Jewish family living in and around New York City and the story covers from the early 60s to 2001. One cool thing is that the author used stories from his own family's history, which I loved. The focus of the story is definitely the Perl family but there is a ton of historical detail interwoven within the family's story. So even though I wouldn't call this book purely historical fiction, there are a lot of things that historical fiction lovers w...more

When President Kennedy is assassinated, people across the United States were shocked. This is no different for the Perl family in Long Island. Spanning from the 1960's to 2011, this book tells the story of the Perl family. Nathan, the father, and his second wife Lillian are parents to 5 children. Jackie is a law student with a penchant for gambling and drinking. Mickey is the businessman, always looking for a way to make money. Elaine is in school becoming a teacher. Stephen feels like he doesn'...more
Saw a blurb that said "if you like Franzen and Philip Roth you will love this book". It was $3.99 so I got it. I have a hard time getting past a work with so many typos and puctuation errors (yeah, I'm a grammar badass) and this book had plenty, including misspellings in Yiddish. But aside from that little problem, the book has a lot of heart. Starting at the murder of JFK and ending after 9/11/01, the book follows the trajectory of a Jewish family on Long Island, meeting up at Thanksgiving and...more
This book was a really good story of a Jewish family in NY state. It looks at the five children of a man who immigrated to America in 1928. The story lives through Kennedys assignation and ending with the 9/11 attacks. Each child is trying to succeed and live up to the fathers expectations and still manage to love him in the process.
Deb Jackson
Great book.. spanning over 40 years about a Jewish family, beginning with the day John Kennedy is shot & ending with 9/11... Loved all the characters, especially Nathan the dad, but all the brothers & sisters were equally great.. all very individual, yet all one.. well written and brought back great memories through time.
I really enjoyed this book. This is the story of a Jewish/Polish family on Long Island and it follows them from JFK's assassination until 9-11. The historical detail is very accurate in this book and the characters are engaging. The story moves quickly and covers a lot of ground. I like how the author uses Thanksgiving as an anchor for this family, as he uses this holiday to show the passage of time throughout the book. I am not familiar with any of this author's other work, but am going to chec...more
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Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are "Cagney and Lacey," for which he won an Emmy Award; "Monte Carlo," in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental "Danielle Steel's Fine Things," and the underrated and hurried...more
More about Peter Lefcourt...
The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story The Deal: A Novel of Hollywood The Woody The First Time I Got Paid For It: Writers' Tales From The Hollywood Trenches The Manhattan Beach Project

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