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My Mother's Son

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In the spirit of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay comes My Mother's Son, the meticulously-crafted debut novel from David Hirshberg. The story is told by a radio raconteur revisiting his past in post-World War II Boston, the playground and battleground for two brothers whose lives are transformed by discov ...more
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Fig Tree Books LLC (first published March 15th 2018)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  35 reviews


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Elyse  Walters
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“My Mother’s Son” is 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, Joe 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, dep
...more
Angela M
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
4+ stars .

What a fantastic debut! This novel is in the form of a memoir narrated by Joel, a retired radio show host. It is the story of a young Jewish boy growing up in the 1950’s in Boston so by its very nature it a a story of the Jewish experience, about the Holocaust - through the story of Joel’s Uncle Jake and how he escaped being sent to the camps. This story is many more things, though. With its fantastic sense of time and place, we get a depiction of some of the major events shaping the c
...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader by: Angela M
4.5 charming stars to My Mother’s Son! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟.5

Thank you to my friends, Elyse and Angela, for this wonderful recommendation. I am ecstatic after reading this book.

Joel worked as a radio host for over 40 years, and he is our narrator with the present day being the 1950s (one of my favorite time periods of which to read because both my parents were children during that time). Joel tells us the story of his life in post WWII Boston.

Hot button issues of the time form the historical backdrop of th
...more
Laurie Lichtenstein
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is about two brothers growing up in 1950s Boston. A loving Jewish family with a mysterious past. The examining of events, planned and unplanned. Scars, obvious and hidden. Doing what needs to be done to survive, and help others survive. The anguish and guilt of surviving. Relationships. Loyalty. Family. Shattered dreams, first loves, baseball, and a dog. It is clever and entertaining and tinged with humor and pain. Beautifully constructed. Amazing language. Highly recommend.
Doreen Ashbrook
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful and well-written book. Reminiscent of Moonglow by Michael Chabon (who is one of my favorite authors). The multi-generational story telling was extremely engaging and the characters tugged at my heartstrings. Not knowing what was truth and what was 'story-telling' added a layer of enjoyment. Again - thank you Goodread Giveaways!!!
Cathy
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rarely do I read a novel that is so richly complex, delicately entwined, and vividly crafted in such a way as to create the feelings I experienced while reading.

Set the 1950’s, the story transports readers in time with intimately detailed flashbacks and flash-forwards that made me think I was watching a well-directed film. It takes the reader on a historic journey, from the aftermath of the Holocaust to the Korean War, and through the polio epidemic. Author David Hirshberg expertly weaves toget
...more
Cindie Harp
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not think this would be a 5 star book when I started it. It began in a haphazard manner, with lots of tangents, but by the middle of the book, the fascinatingly anonymous other (David Hershberg is a pseudonym) drew all the threads together in such an engaging, beautiful tapestry that I was charmed and enamored enough to pick my favorite quote, from the bottom of page 310: Fictional characters have lives as well...they inhabit our spaces and we interact with them; it's still a give-and-take ...more
Judy G
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an unusual book yet the framework is something that has been done frequently. Its a family in fifties in Boston and the family is Jewish. I am certain the author is Jewish however he is not really David Hirshberg as he covered up his true ID. I was very puzzled by the title since it is a son who is telling the tale of those times and those people
At the end of the story and only after I closed the book (yes I read a book book) that I understood the title and it is not something frivolous
...more
Sherry
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“My Mother’s Son” was an interesting book. Having grown up in a large city around the same time frame, I could relate to the texture and authenticity weaved by the author as the young narrator describes his Jewish family in post-World War II Boston. Hirshberg’s style was mostly fast-talking narrative and at times I felt like there were almost too many words on a page. But his characters are what make the story. I fell in love with Uncle Jake, Aunt Rose, and Marone/Mordechai. They were engaging, ...more
Leila
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-for-work
Really enjoyable. A favorite excerpt, below.
(view spoiler)
...more
Christine Van
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My Mother's Son is an engrossing tale of a Jewish boy growing up amidst the melting pot of Boston in 1952. His family's complex history and searing struggles are woven through the book, but their story is revealed slowly and the reader is kept in suspense. The characters are believable and entertaining. The political and historical events of the 1950s will bring back memories to many and enlighten those who are too young to have lived through that era.
Bunny
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me about 50 pages to get into this book. There are a lot of characters to keep track of which put me off in the beginning. But I'm glad I stuck with it. The characters were colorful, yet believable and I really wanted to keep turning pages to see what happened to them. I found Hirshberg's writing style very engaging. Sometimes I found myself chuckling aloud at some of his comments especially those about grandparents, parents and kids.

Kylah Peterman
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, giveaways
Boston Braves moving to Milwaukee, Polio, the Jewish escape from Germany, the Korean war... My Mother’s Son, by David Hirshberg is like travelling back to your childhood home and being embraced by family. The story is centered around Joel, a Jewish -American child growing up among Boston immigrant culture. We experience not only his life, but the lives of his brother, parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and a host of family and boyhood friends. Excellent read.
Ruth Cowan
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
One of the worst books I have ever read. The writing is clunky, the characters are stereotypes and the plot lines are incoherent. I suggested the book, on the strength of the reviews, to a book group I belong to and ended up having to cancel the meeting because no one was willing to wade through the whole thing after reading a few chapters.

And, please note, a fair number of positive reviews are quotes from the back cover and the publisher's blurb. Beware!
Connie
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I really liked this book. It was not a fast read that whisked me along in a frenzy of plot, but one where I became immersed in the characters and their lives during the 50's. It was a different time, and place and the writing transported me there in a way that kept me reading. Hirshberg ties his stories of years gone by to how I look at the world today, letting me ponder how much of our society has changed.
Lynn
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A work of fiction which reads like a very believable memoir. Life in the 1950's in Boston around the time the Braves were moving to Milwaukee. A young boy tells the story of his Jewish family - how they came to be in Boston, who they were before, and who they became. Amusing, heartbreaking, hopeful, interesting.
Kim
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been many years since I have read a book so intelligently written. It very accurately captures a period of time in American/World history that I am familiar with on a personal level. My very own life was touched by the historical events mentioned in this book and still is to this day. Let us not forget East Boston. Jeremiah 30:22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Sue
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sue by: JRB site.
A terrific novel, one of the best I've read this year. Joel, the narrator, is 12 in 1952, living in Boston, part of a Jewish family that is deeply involved in Boston politics, including some of the shadier side. There are also older family members with their stories, some of whom escaped the Nazis. The writer's voice is wonderful & the plot(s) is(are) complex & satisfying. ...more
Florence Primrose
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel is in the form of s memoir of a radio personality retelling his life in a loving Jewish home post WWII. We learn of the move of the Braves from Boston, the election” of Honey Fitz’s grandson, polio, the aftermath of the Holocaust and the Korean War and more.

This was an historical oval with both a great plot and characters.
Fredric J. Gruder
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well worth reading this debut novel.

The author is a friend so it’s hard for me to be completely independent. Reading was like one of those nights long ago when my brother and I listened to Jean Shepard on the radio in the dark of our room.
Rita Mahan
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
two and a half stars
Stopped reading this in the middle and left it for a few days (which I never do). Interesting but just seems to lose steam in the middle. I did eventually finish it but didn't love it.
Fred
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautifully written, evoking the complexities and simplicities of youth in a former age.
Sara
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Almost gave up on this book after the first 100 pages but stuck with it; glad I did - it was a very rewarding read.
Suzanne
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.9 - I wish this had been a little more tightly edited - the story was great, but it could have been a little shorter and less meandering/tangential at some points
Alice Oakey
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Compelling, interesting, riveting,
Mindy
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this sentimental , smart, wry coming of age novel set in 1952.
Just read it
Janet
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Ending was good, beginning and middle was too dragged out. Did not care about baseball
Denise
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! The book transported me to 1950's Immigrant community Boston.
Lisa
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very absorbing novel. I enjoyed it.
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