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When Life Falls, It Falls Upside Down

When Life Falls, It Falls Upside Down

by Lou Myers

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Beginning in 1924, this autobiographical novel takes an unsentimental and sometimes acidic look at growing up Jewish and impoverished in the Bronx. After Leon Mehler's father drowned in a freak accident in the Bronx reservoir, his mother Rose supported her three young children by peddling a variety of goods and taking in questionable boarders. Leon chronicles his turbulent adolescence in a series of sharply etched vignettes, hilariously detailing graphic, highly erotic dreams. We see his City College classmates, burning idealists who make a mish-mash of leftist ideology, learn of his uneven career, ranging from freight-hopping across the nation to pick crops, to a love-smitten year at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. In painful and bleakly comic detail, he traces, through his twice-weekly visits, his mother's decline into delusion and paranoia at an old age home. Leon's recollections are evocative, unblinking and absorbing. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The aging of Mrs. Drezzle Mehlers, as told by her son Leon, is a choppy, scattershot mix of past and present more suited to delivery by a stereotypical Jewish comic in the Catskills than to a novel. Flashbacks describe earlier days of this Jewish immigrant family in an Irish-American neighborhood in the Bronx: Pa's drowning in a reservoir; Ma's taking in boarders to keep the children from a Hebrew orphanage; Leon's Communist party activity, spawned by the Leninist girl with whom he had sex on the rooftop. More of the narrative chronicles Ma's growing old in the Home, as friends die and she increasingly loses touch with reality. But insights into aging are lost in the standup shtick, finally eliciting neither laughter nor tears. Parts of this autobiographical novel have appeared in the The New Yorker ; it is better taken in such small doses, if at all.-- Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Edition description:
1st ed

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