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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, , 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.”

Meet Ilene

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!

Mandatory entry:

Post a comment in which you answer this question: Who is the smartest woman you have ever known and how has she influenced you?

Note: Your entry will not count unless you utilize the Rafflecopter widget to confirm that you have posted a comment in which you answer the question. Bonus entries are also available via the Rafflecopter widget.

Entries will be accepted through Thursday, November 17, 2011, at 12:01 a.m.!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of The Smartest Woman I Know free of charge from the author in conjunction with TLC Book Tours review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. 😀 The smartest woman I knew was my Mother. The older I get the smarter I know she was. She always had great common sense & general knowledge. She had the biggest heart & was kind to all. Nothing like unconditional love. Wish she still was here to talk with.

  2. Pingback: Ilene Beckerman, author of The Smartest Woman I Know, on tour October 2011 | TLC Book Tours

  3. My Grandmother. She was widowed 3 times in her lifetime and always looked at life with happiness. She was very independent and at peace with her life.

  4. I’d have to select my mother too. She is no longer with me, but she was a big influence on my life. She encouraged me to do the best I could in everything.

  5. Anita Yancey

    My mom is the smartest woman I know. She taught me to be loving, caring and very uderstanding. But most of all she taught me not to try and run my daughter’s life, but to let her make her own decisions in life.

  6. The smartest woman I’ve ever known was my mother. The older I got, the more I realized this was true! She influenced my by being loving, kind and generous, and by giving her time and talents (she made clothes and blankets for the homeless and underprivilaged children) to help the less fortunate. I miss her everyday!
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  7. I quess it would be my mom , she taught me how to cook and mostly be kind to people in life

  8. Carol Wong

    I love reading memoirs and books about people’s relatives. This one seems like a treasure of wisdom.


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