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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In these 25 essays, collected from The New York Times, The New Yorker, and a variety of other sources, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein takes readers on a wonderful roller-coaster ride -- from the joy of childbirth to the pain of losing a loved one to cancer. As always, Wasserstein is a very human narrator whose warmth and wit allow her to transform the most personal situation into a universal truth.
The range of essays in Shiksa Goddess makes this the perfect book for those who are unfamiliar with Wasserstein's work. Her major qualities are covered: an aversion to dieting, a love for New York City, and a knack for insightful social commentary. Intelligent but never a snob, Wasserstein chronicles her own flaws and shortcomings with an abundance of humor and candor. The title of the book refers to a hilarious piece in which Wasserstein discovers that she is not Jewish after all and suddenly begins to crave "chicken sandwiches with mayo on white bread, no crust." One of the most powerful essays recounts Wasserstein's involvement in bringing New York City youngsters to theater performances. The book also includes a few of Wasserstein's delightfully surreal interviews with Bette Midler, Jamie Lee Curtis, and other celebrities.
The final essays in Shiksa Goddess bring the ride to a somber end. Wasserstein discusses the complications surrounding the birth of her daughter and the painful, gradual death of her sister from breast cancer. Yet even these weighty themes are given just the right touch of laughter, making them two of the finest essays in the collection. Wasserstein's gift for storytelling, for taking her readers along as she navigates life's difficulties, makes each piece in Shiksa Goddess shine. (Julie Carr)