Welcome to the TLC Book Tour for The Smartest Woman I Know
It is said that there’s nobody as smart as an old woman. The old woman at the center of author Ilene Beckerman’s delightful memoir, The Smartest Woman I Know, is her grandmother.
This story is mostly about Ettie, all 4’10” of her. She was one of the smartest women I ever knew, even though she never made it past the third grade.
Also in the story are:
Mr. Goldberg, who at four o’clock every afternoon, left the store and went upstairs where he and Ettie lived, to take a nap in his blue easy chair.
And God, to whom Ettie spoke several times a day . . .
Sent, along with her older sister, Tootsie, to live with her grandparents at the age of twelve, Ilene shares vignettes from her childhood and wisdom imparted by Ettie. Mr. Goldberg ran a stationery and magazine store and his customers included Irish nannies, Sara Delano Roosevelt, and Marlene Dietrich. And Ettie dispensed advice on every conceivable topic, much of it gleaned from her ongoing discussions with God.
Many of Ilene’s remembrances will have readers laughing out loud and wishing they had known Ettie. One of my favorites:
One time I had to write a paper in a high school English class about who I saw when I looked in the mirror. I asked Ettie, “So who do you see when you look in the mirror?”
“Who do you think I see, she said, “Lana Turner? I see a worried Jewish woman.”
With its clever illustrations by the author, The Smartest Woman I Know, a loving, tender tribute to a woman who held a very special place in Ilene’s heart and life, would make a wonderful holiday gift for a friend or loved one. Reading about Ettie invokes cherished memories of one’s own loved ones. Ilene notes that as she grows older, she thinks of Ettie with increasingly regularity and Ettie’s voice comes back to her. “Sometimes you don’t know how much you love somebody until that somebody’s gone.”
Ilene published her first book at age sixty. Love, Loss, and What I Wore is a memoir “about my life before I had children. I have five children. They didn’t think I had a life before I was their mother. Sometimes even I wondered.”
What We Do For Love followed two years later and when Ilene was sixty-five she wrote about the fact that “childbirth is a lot easier than being mother of the bride” in Mother of the Bride: The Dream, The Reality, The Search for a Perfect Dress. Makeovers at the Beauty Counter of Happiness was published five years later.
Now, at the age of seventy-five, she is garnering wonderful reviews for The Smartest Woman I Know.
Enter to Win a Copy of The Smartest Woman I Know
Ilene has generously provided three copies of The Smartest Woman I Know to be awarded to lucky Colloquium readers!
Post a comment in which you answer this question: Who is the smartest woman you have ever known and how has she influenced you?
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Entries will be accepted through Thursday, November 17, 2011, at 12:01 a.m.!