Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fortune Teller's Kiss” as Want to Read:
The Fortune Teller's Kiss
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fortune Teller's Kiss

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  152 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
There was always the incantation: “Whoever wishes you harm, may harm come to them!” And just in case that didn’t work, there were garlic and cloves to repel the Evil Eye—or, better yet, the dried foreskin from a baby boy’s circumcision, ground to a fine powder. But whatever precautions Brenda Serotte was subjected to, they were not enough. Shortly before her eighth birthda ...more
Hardcover, 220 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by University of Nebraska Press (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Fortune Teller's Kiss, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Fortune Teller's Kiss

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Ruth Segal
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A compelling and readable memoir about a woman who gets polio at the age of seven. I learned a huge amount I didn't know. Not only about polio but about Sephardic Jews. Her family is made up of a wild mixture of spanish and turkish very jewish very intense people. Her mother gives me the chills, for quite personal reasons and I am mind-blown by how much compassion the author has for her mother. Also moving to me personally was the fact that much of the story takes place in the New York neighborh ...more
Karen
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
There was way too much going on in this book...though I was sympathetic to the author's struggle with polio, I just didn't think the book was particularly engaging or interesting. The Sephardic information is okay, but I found the book to be very repetitive and not especially well-written.
Audrey
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the true story of a young Sephardic Jewish girl living in Brooklyn in the 1950's. At the age of 8, she develops polio and her life completely changes. It is a story of the old world of gypsies and fortune tellers meeting the new world of hospitals and exreme medical treatments. Well written and interesting. It is particularly interesting due to my family background with my father who developed polio as a child and also lived in Brooklyn.
Lauren
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The author was my mother's best friend growing up in the Bronx and they are still the best of friends today. My mom and my grandparents are talked about in the novel too! I was so moved by this novel.
Pam Warner
Finding thi book hard to read. Only in PDF. Will skip for now.
Sandra Lambert
Feb 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reviewed on my weblog www.sandralambert.com
Paula Korelitz
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I wasn't crazy about the writing, but I was very interested in both her experiences as a polio victim and her cultural life as a Turkish Sephardic Jew.
Ssadow
Oct 22, 2008 added it
That with enough strength you can do miracles.
Ellen Pilch
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was not only a great memoir, but also very educational. The author is a Sephardic Jew and explained a lot of her culture. All the books I have read about Jewish people have been about Ashklenazi Jewish people (from Europe). There is quite a difference.

This poor woman had polio as a child and suffered a great deal trying to recover. I had no idea that physical therapy existed back then- a much harsher version of todays. The book kept me interested from page one to the end. I was also f
...more
Adele
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's an interesting read about the author's experiences and life as a child with polio (1954) and its sociocultural ramifications of dealing with the disease. The medical world into which she was thrust was not often kind and quite shocking by today's standards. On a positive note, her time at Rusk was much better and certainly quite productive.

Her mother, difficult at best, often did not seem very supportive nor [overtly] loving. Her father, on the other hand (and I'm thinking probably unusuall
...more
Cora
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I know the author and met her mother who was really funny when not behind her cold exterior which I now realize was her way of not showing her conflicting feelings about her daughter's contacting polio. And her husband's gambling. Maybe she felt that would make Brenda strong to cope with her disability. Bye the way Brenda is an amazing woman who has accomplished a great deal and inspires other writers through her writing and teaching. And the father daughter relationship is very important in her ...more
Joanne Gotto
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I just finished this book for my book club. It was well written, funny and sad at times and very engaging. It was very interesting to read it from a healthcare perspective viewing the 1950's and also what it was like prior to the ADA (disabilities) ruling being in place. Things that we take for granted now like wheelchair access and mainstreaming in the schools were not in place at the time that this story takes place.
Susan
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It is a true story written from the eyes of a Sephardic Jewish woman from immigrant parents who had polio as a child (in the Bronx). Because the polio epidemic was before I was born, it was really a fascinating look at the impact of the polio epidemic to the American culture and how polio victims were treated. It is also a fascinating, fun look at a family of Sephardic Jews.
Carol
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting information about Sephardic Jews and a profound description of what is was like to be a child with polio in the 1950's. The isolation, fear, and triumphs were presented well, but the book became boring about 2/3 of the way. I did enjoy reading how both of her parents reacted to her situation.
Shanna
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This autobiographical novel was my book group's June pick; I loved learning about Sephardi Jews and their culture set against the background of New York. Brenda Serotte's story is truly tragic and highlights a dark part of US history: the polio epidemic. I was enthralled by her story and learned much about her life and her customs.
Elise
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
The disjointed telling of this true story of a polio victim made took away from the story. The timeline jumped all over, and nuggets of Brenda's famiy life and relatives were thrown in which seem to have no relevance to the story. While it was interesting to read about her and her family's struggles, there was a lot of flotsam thrown in which took away from the book.
Cheryl
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book describes a time and a place that I knew nothing about. The stories of her polio and her families life in NYC were very interesting. I had no idea that there were Jewish Turks living and maintaining their culture.
Cindie Harp
This shook up my preconceptions about all Sephardi families being affectionate -- and really the story was more about Brenda's polio than anything else. Still, an interesting romp about life in the 50's in NYC. And the food descriptions made me drool!
Mary
May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
It was interesting to read about this Sephardic family and I also learned a lot about polio. It takes place over a fairly short period of time during the author's life and I was disappointed in not only the end but also, the fact that we never learned about the rest of the her life.
Sue
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I've noted it because the Agudas book club will be reading it for August.

A memoir of growing up in the Bronx, in a Sephardic Turkish family, & of contracting polio at the age of 7. I found the polio aspects of the memoir most interesting, the rest of the book less so.
Janet Masonberg
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
the true story of a young Sephardic Jewish girl living in Brooklyn in the 1950s. At the age of 8 she develops polio and her life completely changes. It is the story of the old world of gypsies and the fortune tellers meeting the new world of hospitals and extreme medical treatments.
Sara
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It's a memoir, not a novel, and feels like it. An interesting look at being in the polio epidemics in NYC, which is more what the book is about than the cultural piece. Writing is adequate to at times very good, especially toward the end. I'd imagine there is a sequel coming.
Suzanne Hughes
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Memoir from the 1950's during a big polio epidemic. I was very interested in both her experiences as a polio victim and her cultural life as a Turkish Sephardic Jew. I knew people in high school who had contracted polio but never was aware of the challenges the experience caused.
Helen
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked tis story as it was about Sephardic Jews from Turkey, a group I don't know anything about, and their second generation experience in the Bronx during the 1950's
Irene Sarke
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting memoir about being a Sephardic Jew in New York in the 40's and 50's and the authors bout with polio.
Laurie
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I learned a great deal about the Sephardic culture and also polio I found it very witty and well written from a young girl's memory.
Virginia Harrell
Jun 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Not all that well written - train of thought not cohesive, sentences could be more precise. Much of her anger, fear definitely exhibited.
Lisa
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting, very readable but I did not feel that I knew the author much better at the end.
Lisa Pfeffer
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-shelf
An excellent story of a young girl's strength and determination to walk again after she contracts polio
Lee Nespor
NSC Book Club Title
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Fortune Teller's Kiss; 3 Stars 2 7 Jul 28, 2017 05:34AM  
  • And So It Was Written
  • When General Grant Expelled the Jews
  • The Search for God at Harvard
  • Echoes from Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The story of Eva and Miriam Mozes
  • The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family
  • Songs for the Butcher's Daughter
  • Exit Berlin: How One Woman Saved Her Family from Nazi Germany
  • Five Books Of Miriam: A Woman's Commentary on the Torah
  • El Iluminado: A Graphic Novel
  • Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew
  • Why Be Jewish?: A Testament
  • Body Geographic
  • Maimonides (Jewish Encounters)
  • Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory
  • Chains Around the Grass
  • The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath
  • Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat
  • Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God: A
    $11.49 $2.99