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I Love Gootie: My Grandmother's Story
     

I Love Gootie: My Grandmother's Story

by Max Apple
 

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Written with the same emotional power as his critically acclaimed "Roommates, " Apple takes a heartwarming and hilarious look at the life of his grandmother. While much of Gootie's advice was hilariously off-target, she taught Apple about the power of love and the art of storytelling.

Overview

Written with the same emotional power as his critically acclaimed "Roommates, " Apple takes a heartwarming and hilarious look at the life of his grandmother. While much of Gootie's advice was hilariously off-target, she taught Apple about the power of love and the art of storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Apple, who wrote a memoir of his grandfather Rocky (Roommates, LJ 2/1/94), completes the story with this memoir of his grandmother Gootie. Born in 1886, she married Rocky in 1909 and was separated from him by his move to America and World War I, rejoining him in 1923 in Michigan. Her Lithuanian shtetl, Serei, was her spiritual and emotional home, and she remained true to it for the rest of her life. Apple's childhood view of Gootie helped him to think about the world then, and his memories of her now give him faith and hope for the future. The stories of his teenage years are especially good. Gootie's life was difficult and circumscribed, but she overcame it with belief and love. A good memoir, recommended for Jewish studies and literature collections.Gene Shaw, NYPL
Walter Goodman
Apple never promised us a biography. Out of family recollections, he is recapturing a precious time and a lost culture, and if "I Love Gootie" embellishes a bit, call it the storyteller's art....So here we have young Max, or Mottele, hanging around the kitchen with his grandma, who spoke mostly Yiddish and lived more in her beloved childhood shtetl of Serei than in the extended family home in Grand Rapids, Mich. Bathed in her warm, protective, exasperating love, he picks up plenty of old-fashioned wisdom, superstition and peculiar facts of life.... -- Walter Goodman, New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
This nostalgic sequel to novelist Apple's Roommates (1994), about his extraordinary grandfather, focuses on the authorþs less charismatic but equally original grandmother. Gootie was born in 1881 in a Lithuanian shtetl and grew up with all of the superstitions of that rural Old World culture (including spitting in all four directions to ward off the "evil eye"). Apple makes plain, though, that she was far more than a stock figure drawn from Fiddler on the Roof. She was the calming influence on her hotheaded husband, Rocky, and although she seemed to defer to him, she in fact quietly controlled her turbulent householdþand captivated her grandson. She adapted to life in small-town Michigan with aplomb, without sacrificing her identity. As an outsider, she offered some sharp criticisms of American society, keeping her grandson from too wholehearted an embrace of pop culture. She worried about him forgetting his traditions. And she fretted about his girlfriends, comparing one (an avid horseback rider) to a marauding Cossack. She was suspicious of people too ready to embrace modernity, especially in matters of courtship and matchmaking, observing that "the cat and dog are modern too they just go out into the street." Her own attempts at matchmaking were disastrous but add much to the book's fine humor. The last 50 pages are less engaging, as Apple finishes high school and leaves for college. As he reads to her in his final hospital visit, Gootie gets in some parting shots about college book learning and Western civilization in general. "Shakespeare is not worth five cents," she concludes, and "most of the classics are about whores." Gootie left her grandson a rich inheritance ofYiddish culture and folk wisdom, and a love of storytelling. Apple's biography is thus also about the source of his unique writer's mind; listening to Gootie, itþs easy to see the origin of his ability to spin a good story. Fresh, affectionate, and moving.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446675970
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
05/01/2000
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.63(d)

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