Roommates: My Grandfather's Story

Overview

From Max Apple, the witty and acclaimed writer of The Oranging of America and Free Agents, comes a true story unlike any you've ever read before. At its center is a young boy who grows into a man and his grandfather - irascible, scrappy Herman "Rocky" Goodstein - who takes over a troubled family at the age of 103 and shows them all how to survive, how to heal, and how to love. Rocky seems to have been looking out for his grandson Max all his life. A Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, the five-feet-tall, 110 pound ...
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Overview

From Max Apple, the witty and acclaimed writer of The Oranging of America and Free Agents, comes a true story unlike any you've ever read before. At its center is a young boy who grows into a man and his grandfather - irascible, scrappy Herman "Rocky" Goodstein - who takes over a troubled family at the age of 103 and shows them all how to survive, how to heal, and how to love. Rocky seems to have been looking out for his grandson Max all his life. A Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, the five-feet-tall, 110 pound Rocky ends up as a baker in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has already been forced into semiretirement by the time Max is born. He is, however, no gentle old man. He argues with the men in the synagogue, screams daily at his fellow workers in the bakery, and explodes in anger in his sleep, calling down curses in Yiddish on his enemies - everyone from the Bolsheviks to Richard Nixon. Grandpa Rocky and Max share a house, a heritage, an extended family and eventually a special bond as the fiery old man shapes and guides a little boy's growth into manhood. But neither quite expects to end up together as roommates during the turbulent 1960s when Max goes to the University of Michigan and Rocky is a hale and hearty 93. And neither could foresee how their lives would continue to be intertwined in years to come. In these times of radical change, it is old-fashioned love that causes the most trouble. Debby, a feisty and bright young woman, immediately steals Max's heart and arouses Rocky's instant dislike, winning him over only after becoming Max's wife and the mother of his two children. Then tragedy strikes; Max helplessly watches his world fall apart; and a very old man whose own thoughts are finally turning toward death discovers he has a new job. Grandpa Rocky, 103, takes over running a family with all the strength of character and wisdom about the sorrows and joys of living that more than a century has taught him. And in doing so, he touches and inspires us al

A poignant, funny memoir by the author of Free Agents. When Max Apple brings his 96-year-old grandfather to the University of Massachusetts to be his roommate, the relationship Max had been blessed with since birth continues to shape and influence his life. A spring '94 motion picture from Disney.

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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
Roommates demonstrates that complicated family life needn't splinter or disintegrate the tribe. A lot of love, a dollop of respect for others, mixed in the warm Yiddishkeit, helped mold the brilliant storyteller called Max Apple.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The saga of an ambitious, immigrant Lithuanian Jewish family in Michigan and the exceptional bond between baker grandfather Rocky and his grandson, the author, who replaced a dead son in the old man's affections, is recounted here by Apple Free Agents . This focuses on the choleric but lovable Rocky and his guidance of his grandson into manhood, including their sharing quarters during the author's graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Their loving though often stormy relationship was seriously tried only by Rocky's dislike of Debby, the woman Apple married, who ultimately won him over by bearing two great-grandchildren. During Debby's long, terminal illness, Rocky, at age 103, ``bounced back into action . . . too busy to die,'' caring for the author's children and the household just three years before his own death. Film rights to Disney; Reader's Digest Condensed Book selection. June
Library Journal
This is a heartwarming story of a strong, vibrant, loving intergenerational relationship. From childhood, Apple's grandfather Rocky, who is best described as a ``difficult character,'' played a unique role in his grandson's life. Their closeness was enhanced when the two began sharing a room as Apple grew up. This arrangement continued, due to family circumstances, when Apple went away to college. All through his rise to maturity and through the stormy Sixties Apple strove to remain loyal to Rocky, even though Rocky initially rejected Apple's wife. Throughout his long life-Rocky lived to age 107-Apple treated him with respect and affection. At age 103 Rocky managed to pull things together when Apple's wife fell gravely ill. Enthusiastically recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/94.]-Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
School Library Journal
YA-A vivid account of a life fully lived through four generations. Rocky Goodstein, who lived to the age of 106, was remarkable not only for his longevity, but also for his vigor and capabilities. He accompanied his grandson to college at the age of 93, and subsequently had a great effect on the younger man's courtship. At the age of 103, he took over the care of two motherless great-grandchildren. The flaws, strains, strengths, and attachments of a lifetime are amusingly and clearly presented.-Frances Reiher, King's Park Library, Burke, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786203666
  • Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference
  • Publication date: 4/30/1995
  • Pages: 312

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