Lies About My Family: A Memoir by Amy Hoffman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Lies About My Family: A Memoir

Lies About My Family: A Memoir

by Amy Hoffman
     
 

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This well-crafted family memoir is about the stories that are told and the ones that are not told, and about the ways the meanings of the stories change down the generations. It is about memory and the spaces between memories, and about alienation and reconciliation.

All of Amy Hoffman's grandparents came to the United States during the early twentieth century

Overview

This well-crafted family memoir is about the stories that are told and the ones that are not told, and about the ways the meanings of the stories change down the generations. It is about memory and the spaces between memories, and about alienation and reconciliation.

All of Amy Hoffman's grandparents came to the United States during the early twentieth century from areas in Poland and Russia that are now Belarus and Ukraine. Like millions of immigrants, they left their homes because of hopeless poverty, looking for better lives or at the least a chance of survival. Because of the luck, hard work, and resourcefulness of the earlier generations, Hoffman and her five siblings grew up in a middle-class home, healthy, well fed, and well educated. An American success story? Not quite -- or at least not quite the standard version. Hoffman's research in the Ellis Island archives along with interviews with family members reveal that the real lives of these relatives were far more complicated and interesting than their documents might suggest.

Hoffman and her siblings grew up as observant Jews in a heavily Catholic New Jersey suburb, as political progressives in a town full of Republicans, as readers in a school full of football players and their fans.

As a young lesbian, she distanced herself from her parents, who didn't understand her choice, and from the Jewish community, with its organization around family and unquestioning Zionism. However, both she and her parents changed and evolved, and by the end of this engaging narrative, they have come to new understandings, of themselves and one another.

University of Massachusetts Press

Editorial Reviews

Reviews by Amos Lassen

As double minorities, Jewish members of the LGBT community often have to deal with alienation and reconciliation.... In many families, Zionism plays a big role and sexuality is rarely, if ever, discussed. It is only natural for a queer child to move away from the center of the family and feel unaccepted even if this is not the case. Hoffman's parents did change the way that they felt and now the family is whole once again.... I found the descriptions of the family members to be glorious--Hoffman does not hold back and shared the good and the bad, the success and the failures. We laugh, we cry but above all else, we enjoy.

Midwest Book Review

Of how [Hoffman] came to terms with her conflicts and found life, Lies About My Family is an enticing breakdown on the impact of family on our lives.

The Gay & Lesbian Review

There are in this slender volume some wonderful stories, sure to resonate with almost anyone who is a second- or third-generation American.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781625340030
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date:
04/30/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
168
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Bettina Aptheker

Lies About My Family is a marvelous, wonderful memoir. Hoffman has a way of depicting people and their foibles, strengths and courage and also what she perceives as their failures, but it is without rancor. There are no axes to grind here. The memoir is neither harsh nor pretentious. It simply is.

Alison Bechdel

The tales in this book, replete with conflicting versions and impeccable comic timing, have clearly been refined over multiple generations. Hoffman is at her hilarious best. Who would have thought that a memoir about a functional family could be so wrenching, and so hysterically funny?

Kate Clinton

Lies About My Family, by turns sorrowful and hilarious, is a hugely satisfying read, full of detail and dialogue, a solid memoir of a flesh and blood American family, the Hoffman family.

Anita Diamant

An all-American coming-of-age story about a nice Jewish lesbian and her large family. Amy Hoffman's wise memoir embraces three generations and the 'lies' (mostly true) they tell about themselves and each other.

Meet the Author

Amy Hoffman is editor in chief of the Women's Review of Books and a faculty member in the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College. She is author of An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the "Gay Community News" and Hospital Time. Her website is www.amyhoffman.net.

University of Massachusetts Press

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