This Is My Life

Overview

The early novel that established Meg Wolitzer’s career, later made into Nora Ephron’s first film as a director.

The third book by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Wolitzer (originally published as This Is Your Life), a smart, witty and perceptive novel about the daughters of a female stand-up comic who watch as their mother struggles to balance her career with the needs of her children.

Dottie Engels, comedienne extraordinaire, performs ...

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This Is My Life

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Overview

The early novel that established Meg Wolitzer’s career, later made into Nora Ephron’s first film as a director.

The third book by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Wolitzer (originally published as This Is Your Life), a smart, witty and perceptive novel about the daughters of a female stand-up comic who watch as their mother struggles to balance her career with the needs of her children.

Dottie Engels, comedienne extraordinaire, performs her act in Vegas and on late-night TV.  Her two daughters, Opal and Erica, live on the periphery of her glittering life, seeing her on the television screen more often than they do at home.  But when Dottie’s ratings begin to slide, it takes both her daughters to save Dottie from herself.

Displaying Wolitzer’s signature style that combines keen observations, compassion for her characters, sharp humor, and a strong social hook, This Is My Life expertly captures the uncertainties of adolescence and the trials of growing up in the shadow of a mother who is caught between the conflicting pulls of fame and family.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“There is affection and humor in her voice, and combined with her strong storytelling talents, these qualities lend [This Is My Life] both authority and comic warmth.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Praise for Meg Wolitzer

“Wolitzer is as precise and rigorous an observer of social status as Tom Wolfe; she is as incisive and pitiless and clear-eyed a chronicler of female-male tandems as Philip Roth or John Updike. . . . She writes about life at eye level. . . . Wolitzer is terrific at depicting the ambiguity of modern family life, its murky choices and thorny dilemmas.”—Chicago Tribune

“All of Wolitzer’s characters are so articulate and insightful that it’s a pleasure to listen to them think. . . . [Her] scenes are intensely observed and nuanced.”—The Atlantic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594633140
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 786,695
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Wolitzer

Meg Wolitzer’s novels include The Wife, The Position, The Ten-Year Nap, and The Interestings.

Biography

Meg Wolitzer grew up around books. Her mother, Hilma Wolitzer, published two novels while Meg was still in school, and weekly trips to the library were a ritual the entire family looked forward to. Not surprisingly, Meg served as editor for her junior high and high school literary magazines. She graduated from Brown University in 1981. One year later, she published her debut novel, Sleepwalking, the story of three college girls bonded by an unhealthy fascination with suicidal women poets. It marked the beginning of a successful writing career that shows no sign of slacking.

Over the years, Wolitzer has proven herself a deft chronicler of intense, unconventional relationships, especially among women. She has explored with wit and sensitivity the dynamics of fractured families (This Is Your Life, The Position); the devastating effects of death (Surrender, Dorothy), the challenges of friendship (Friends for Life), and the prospective minefield of gender, identity, and dashed expectations (Hidden Pictures, The Wife, The Ten-Year Nap).

In addition to her bestselling novels, Wolitzer has written a number of screenplays. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize, and she has also taught writing at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and at Skidmore College.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview, Wolitzer shared some fun and fascinating facts about herself:

"First of all, I am obsessed with playing Scrabble. It relaxes me between fits of writing, and I play online, in a bizarro world of anonymous, competitive players. It's my version of smoking or drinking -- a guilty pleasure. The thing is, I love words, anagrams, wordplay, cryptic crossword puzzles, and anything to do with the language."

"I also love children's books, and feel a great deal of nostalgia for some of them from my own childhood (Harriet the Spy and The Phantom Tollbooth among others) as well as from my children's current lives. I have an idea for a kids' book that I might do someday, though right now my writing schedule is full up."

"Humor is very important to me in life and work. I take pleasure from laughing at movies, and crying at books, and sometimes vice versa. I also have recently learned that I like performing. I think that writers shouldn't get up at a reading and give a dull, chant-like reading from their book. They should perform; they should do what they need to do to keep readers really listening. I've lately had the opportunity to do some performing on public radio, as well as singing with a singer I admire, Suzzy Roche, formerly of the Roches, a great group that started in 1979. Being onstage provides a dose of gratification that most writers never get to experience."

"But mostly, writing a powerful novel -- whether funny or serious, or of course both -- is my primary goal. When I hear that readers have been affected by something I've written, it's a relief. I finally have come to no longer fear that I'm going to have to go to law school someday...."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 28, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1981
    2. Website:

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