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Shiksa Goddess

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  221 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Celebrated playwright and magnetic wit Wendy Wasserstein has been firmly rooted in New York’s cultural life since her childhood of Broadway matinees, but her appeal is universal. Shiksa Goddess collects thirty-five of her urbane, inspiring, and deeply empathic essays–all written when she was in her forties, and all infused with her trademark irreverent humor.

The full range
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2001)
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Songs from the Well by Adam Byrn TrittThe Uncommon Thread by R. Scott AndersonYom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin by Adam Byrn TrittGeorge Orwell by George OrwellSlouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
Best essays/essayists
46th out of 66 books — 37 voters
The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy WassersteinIsn't it Romantic by Wendy WassersteinThe Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy WassersteinUncommon Women and Others by Wendy WassersteinThird - Acting Edition by Wendy Wasserstein
Best of Wendy Wasserstein
13th out of 15 books — 1 voter

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I feel late to the game in reading this one, as it was published in 2001 and a lot of the essays seem topical. Several of the essays were deeply personal; I found the ones on her sister's death and her daughter's birth particularly moving. Other essays felt more like inside jokes for New Yorkers and theater types. It makes me sad to think that Wasserstein didn't live long enough to see her daughter grow up. Her passion for the arts is an inspiring legacy.
This is another of the small used bookstore visit where I bought the whole shelf. These are 36 essays about coping with her forties. She is wonderfully witty, sexy and smart. I was so engaged with her achievements and her writing that as soon as I finished the book, I goggled her to find How she was doing with raising her daughter.….and broke out in tears when I learned Wendy had died. Her brother and his wife who had a child the same month as Wendy gave birth is raising her. Now, I would love t ...more
Andrea Homier
This collection of essays is by an ultimate New Yorker and reads as such - cynical and irreverent -- something I found both jarring and foreignly attractive. There is some great writing in here - particularly when Wasserstein is writing about subjects dear to her heart: her beloved older sister slowly dying of cancer, the birth of her daughter, and developing a growing, new, young audience for the theatre. In those essays, her passion flows with eloquence. She was obviously of great talent, and ...more
When I read the book jacket cover, the description made me think I was going to LOVE this book described as Wendy Wasserstein’s essays on life in her 40s. Upon completion,
I felt like a movie trailer where the best parts were already pulled out for you. The book is easy to read since it is compiled of 35 short essays on different subjects. Overall, I really enjoyed and related to only a handful. Many were relative to the theater, arts and somewhat dated stories on Hollywood figures (Jamie Lee Cu
With her characteristic humor and ability to face the facts, Wasserstein explores the state of the arts in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s and reveals sources of her inspiration from the lives of family members and her generation of women. Of course I was interested in her backstage stories and descriptions of working on her shows, but especially touching are the essays describing her visit through Poland with her older sister as they located where their mother's family had lived pr ...more
Tracy O
Nov 10, 2007 Tracy O rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hmmm. Not sure.
I started reading this book thinking it was a sure fire "fall back." That is, that I was going to love it, it would be easy reading, and I would be through it in a flash. And, I'm honestly surprised that I found it really banal, uninteresting and totally without bite. I wanted light and funny, and who would've thunk it, this is simply TOO light, not very witty, and and pretty much without substance (those who know me, are saying, WHAT????). These essays skim so many topics so much at the surface ...more
This book was sitting on my shelf for ages when I picked it up the other day. Each chapter is a snapshot in a day in the life of Wendy Wasserstein, playwright most famous for her Pulitzer Prize-Winning play, "The Heidi Chronicles." Such a self-deprecating funny person who thought it was a great honor to be "nice."

I read this book, not being a huge fan or anything, but I thoroughly enjoyed all her stories especially the birth of her daughter Lucy Jane. Her life was so different than mine, but I
The essays are fine, but I love her plays with my whole heart.
There were a few gems in this book of essays, for example when the author wrote about her childhood and family, but it was tough slogging through the rest of the essays that would probably only be interesting if you were a theater/dance aficionado in New York City. It also felt like there was a lot of annoying name dropping (many of whom I didn’t even know because they are famous theater people in New York). So overall the writer has potential but I didn’t enjoy this particular book.
Dan Annie
Life tragedies make good writers. Though it sounds cruel, in Wasserstein's case it is very true. My personal favourite is the piece about her sister Sandra's fight with cancer; the one about her daughter's birth is also very touching. Except for these last two entries written after life-altering events, the rest is a blur...
Dean Brodhag
I'd never read Wasserstein and this was a good sampling of essays. I look forward to reading her play the Heidi Chronicles.

If you like Wendy Wasserstein, or theater, or New York, this collection of essays could be quite entertaining. If you don't have a particular interest in at least one of those things, I doubt more than a couple of the essays will be especially interesting.
I really like Wendy Wasserstein and it's a shame that her life was cut short. This series of essays deals with her life while she was in her forties dealing with her sister's cancer and trying to become pregnant. Really heartwarming and heartbreaking.
I had heard of Wasserstein many times before, but never came in contact with her works. She is funny, but my want to read the other books I had in my possession trumped my full attention to this one, so it felt a little slow-going.
Some of these essays were hysterical, others are more time-specific. It was odd to read the stories and essays with the knowledge that within a few years of completing the book, she was diagnosed with and died of cancer.
Wendy Wasserstein's conversational writing style lends itself well to the audiobook format. The anecdotes about New York theatre people were interesting, but her tale of having a baby at 47 was far more personal and moving.
Selection of short essays. Some MHC references, which were fun. I think theater lovers would probably enjoy these essays a lot. Her best essays are the ones about her mother, her daughter and taking kids to Broadway.
I really enjoyed this collection of witty, sometimes thought-provoking essays. I think Wendy Wasserstein was a visiting Professor or something at Amherst when I was there, and I'm truly sorry I didn't get to know her.
I thought this would be a fun and thought-provoking read - I wanted a break from some heavier reading I had been doing. Unfortunately, it was really dull.
I was so disappointed by this book - it felt trivial and too self-deprecating. I wonder if her other essay collections are better!
I enjoyed reading this, even though some of the essay topics were not of much interest to me. It was a light relaxing read.
I really liked this book and read it after she died which made me very sad as I felt as if we had lost a great voice
Rafael Pajaro - Rafa
I liked too many of the essays in this collection to mention them. Suffice to say, women's life are about so much.
Sep 30, 2007 Diane is currently reading it
Really funny book of essays , Wasserstein died almost 2 years ago,.. so it is a good look at all kinds of subjects.
She was a very funny author, especially if you have spent time in New York. It's a keeper.
Warm, funny, literary - just like Ms. Wasserstein herself. Plus, shout-outs to Mount Holyoke!
Rebecca Sage
Got this book as a gift and really tore through it. Good ol' Wendy. She's the best.
I wanted to love it, Wendy Wasserstein was so talented. It was OK.
Eh. It should have been at least 50 pages shorter.
Ayelet Waldman
She's a much better playwright than essayist.
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Wendy Wasserstein was an award-winning American playwright and an Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. She was the recipient of the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
More about Wendy Wasserstein...
The Heidi Chronicles: Uncommon Women and Others & Isn't It Romantic Elements of Style The Heidi Chronicles The Sisters Rosensweig Uncommon Women and Others

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