GROWING UP GOLEM: How I Survived My Mother, Brooklyn, and Some Really Bad Dates by Donna Minkowitz is due for release this coming week and according to publicity about the book it might prove quite interesting.
In the tradition of Portnoy's Complaint and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Donna Minkowitz's Growing Up Golem is an incisive, often funny memoir about growing up inspired by the Jewish legend of the golem. The author's mother told Minkowitz and her sisters as children that she could do kabbalistic magic, and growing up, Minkowitz believed it. Her mother, a compulsively creative and unusually powerful figure, exerted even more sway over Minkowitz and her sisters than mothers typically do over their children, so it is the "magical realist" premise of the book that instead of giving birth to her, her mother actually created Minkowitz as her own personal golem, an animated servant made of clay.
In the book, Minkowitz struggles to control her own life, even as she publicly appears to be a radical, take-no-prisoners lesbian journalist. In her career, dating, even with friends - and especially with her own eccentric, hypersexualized, intellectual family - Minkowitz finds herself compelled to do what other people want, to horrible and hilarious effect. In sex, for example, she often feels like "a giant robot dildo."
Matters come to a head when a disabling arm injury renders her almost helpless - unable to use a computer or even lift a glass of water. She must find a way to work, find people who love her, and stand up for her own desires - against the bossing she's always tolerated from girlfriends, mother and anyone else she meets- before her injury gets even worse.
"The too-solicitous daughter of a narcissistic mother. The young writer whose arms fail due to repetitive strain. In Growing Up Golem, a memoir about both experiences, Donna Minkowitz comes to the brilliant conclusion that she must be her mother's golem. By offering the metaphor of golemhood as a lens for understanding both psychic and physical crises, Minkowitz takes a dazzling leap of fancy and then writes a new bridge into being behind her for the rest of us to follow." --Ellis Avery, author of the award-winning The Last Nude
About the Author:
Donna Minkowitz's first book, Ferocious Romance: What My Encounters with the Right Taught Me about Sex, God and Fury, won a Lambda Literary Award. It was also shortlisted for the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Visions Award "for the most promising and distinctive work by a new writer." She was a columnist on LGBT politics and culture for the Village Voice from 1987 to 1995, as well as a political columnist for The Advocate. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review, New York magazine, Salon, and The Nation. Minkowitz won the Exceptional Merit Media Award for "In the Name of the Father," a creative nonfiction piece in which she disguised herself as a sixteen-year-old Christian evangelical boy to write about the Promise Keepers for Ms. She has appeared on Charlie Rose and many NPR programs. She lives in New York.
Praise for Ferocious Romance
"Utterly entrancing ... Donna Minkowitz introspects herself bare, and then with a breathtakingly fluent language of alternating waggery and sincerity, tells how she incorporated her doubts and certainties into that rarest thing: an authentic self. In this brilliantly funny, wise, joyful book, she achieves the compassion and depth that both the gay and right-wing movements profess to want, and fail to achieve: and she does so with a gentle lightness and forthright courage by which even a die-hard partisan would have to be swayed."-- Andrew Solomon, author, Far from the Tree
"An original, energetic and witty book.... Reveal[s] something meaty about real people with grace, humor, and intelligence."-- Mary Gaitskill, the New York Observer
"Donna Minkowitz's writing is a tonic."-- Naomi Wolf
"Original and provocative."-- Susan Faludi
"Infuriating, insightful, hilarious.... Deserves a wide readership among activists and right-wingers alike."--Patrick Califia, author, Public Sex