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Shiksa Goddess: (Or, How I Spent My Forties): Wasserstein, Wendy

Shiksa Goddess: (Or, How I Spent My Forties)

Wasserstein, Wendy

270 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375411658 / ISBN 13: 9780375411656
Published by Alfred a Knopf Inc, 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Sekkes Consultants (North Dighton, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Celebrated playwright and magnetic wit Wendy Wasserstein has been firmly rooted in New York’s cultural life since her childhood of Broadway matinees, but her appeal is universal. Shiksa Goddess collects thirty-five of her urbane, inspiring, and deeply empathic essays–all written when she was in her forties, and all infused with her trademark irreverent humor. Boldly signed on ffep, in great, unread condition. Size: 6" - 8½". Bookseller Inventory # 272381

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Shiksa Goddess: (Or, How I Spent My Forties)

Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

Book Type: book

About this title


When Wendy Wasserstein turned forty, she made a To Do list composed mostly of items left over from when she turned thrity. The listincluded the annuals: lose weight, exercise, read more, improve female friendships, improve male friendships, and (left over from her second grade To Do list) become a better citizen. At the end of the list were the larger-than-life unavoidables: move, fall in love, and decide about a baby.

In Shiksa Goddess, her first book of essays in ten years, Wendy writes about each f the quests and midlife obsessions.

On diets and cooking ("I was born to order up . . . My favorite breakfast china has always been a paper cup embossed with a picture of the Parthenon.") . . .

On getting in shape and hiring a personal trainer (Sue is on hand twenty-four hours to say, Stop! In the name of self-love . . . She is a fat-free beacon of light) . . . About the rise of the legendary Mrs. Entenmann, who married the boss at nineteen and went from salesgirl to bakery czarina . . .

On the truth of her denominational heritage (the name Wasserstein was changed from Waterson by a distant relative in order to get his child into an Ivy Leage college and Mount Sinai Medical School) . . .

On buying an apartment--and then seeking refuge from it for a year in a residential hotel ("Life boiled back down to basics: work, friendship, and room service") . . . About attending the Golden Globe Awards . . .

On the traditions of the holidays ("I was very disappointed the first time I saw Plymouth Rock . . . I thought it would be surrounded by Barricini chocolate turkeys, dancing sweet potatoes, and Pilgrims in crepe-paper hats") . . .

On MOther's Day and her mother, Lola Wasserstein ("Lola encourages sending a homemade greeting card. A personal citation like 'I love you, Gramma' or 'Mother, I promise next year to be married with three musically inclined children, a co-op, and a degree in dentistry' is worth thousands of words") . . . on Chekhov . . . George Abbott . . .

And she writes movingly about her sister's battle with breast cancer, and about her own pregnancy at forty-eight and the birth of her first child, Lucy Jane.


Wendy Wasserstein is best known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, but she has also spent 10 years penning brisk, mostly comic, often touching essays for magazines. Here they are, niftily collected in Shiksa Goddess; or, How I Spent My Forties. Though there's much to be said for her brisk interview with Bette Midler, written in the form of a comic play (if we're to believe Wasserstein, the two of them rowed around Manhattan harmonizing on "Shine On Harvest Moon") and some of the other occasional essays, the heart of the book is her portraiture of her family. She immortalizes her mother, Lola Wasserstein, in a few deft sketches. "Always look nice when you throw out the garbage," Lola warns. "You never know who you might meet." When it comes to cards, "Lola encourages sending 'the very, very best,' a homemade greeting card. A personal citation like 'I love you, Gramma' or 'Mother, I promise next year to be married with three musically inclined children, a co-op, and a degree in dentistry' is worth a thousand words."

The darkest, deepest notes are sounded in her essay on the cancer battle of her late sister, Sandra, the model for the character Sara in Wasserstein's dazzling play The Sisters Rosensweig. The book concludes with a rather heroic account of her pregnancy at age 48, which lives up to its title: "Days of Awe: The Birth of Lucy Jane." At her best, Wasserstein is an essayist of emotional delicacy, intellectual rigor, and an unconquerable funny bone. --Tim Appelo

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