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An American Family Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Length: 454 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1175 KB
  • Print Length: 454 pages
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,298 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Peter Lefcourt

Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are "Cagney and Lacey," for which he won an Emmy award; "Monte Carlo," in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental "Danielle Steel's Fine Things," and the underrated and hurried "The Women of Windsor," the most sordid, and thankfully last, miniseries about the British Royal Family.

He began writing novels after being declared "marginally unemployable" in the entertainment business by his agent. In 1991 Lefcourt published "The Deal"--an act of supreme hubris that effectively bit the hand that fed him and produced, in that wonderfully inverse and masochistic logic of Hollywood, a fresh demand for his screenwriting services. It remains a cult favorite in Hollywood and was one of the ten books that the late John Gotti reportedly ordered from jail.

Subsequently he has divided his time between screenplays and novels, publishing "The Dreyfus Affair" in 1992, his darkly comic look at homophobia in baseball as a historical analog to anti-Semitism in fin de siecle France, whose film rights The Walt Disney Company has optioned twice and let lapse twice in paroxysms of anxiety about what it says about the national pastime and, by extension, Disneyland.

In 1994, he published "Di And I," a heavily fictionalized version of his love affair with the late Princess of Wales. Princess Diana's own step-godmother, the late Barbara Cartland, herself no slouch when it came to publishing torrid books, declared the book "ghastly and unnecessary," which pushed the British edition briefly onto the bestseller lists. "Di And I" was optioned by Fine Line Pictures and was abandoned after Diana's untimely death.

"Abbreviating Ernie," his fourth novel, was inspired by his brush with notoriety after the appearance of "Di And I." At the time he was harassed by the British tabloids and spent seven excruciating minutes on "Entertainment Tonight." He was subsequently and fittingly bumped out of People Magazine by O.J. Simpson's white Bronco media event of June, 1994.

Lefcourt's research on a movie about the 1995 Bob Packwood scandal was the germ for his fifth novel, "The Woody." He saw the former senator's battle with the Senate Ethics Committee as evidence of the confusion in America regarding appropriate sexual behavior for politicians. Packwood became a sacrificial lamb by getting his dick caught in the buzzsaw of the zeitgeist.

His subsequent book, "Eleven Karens"--an erratically erotic fictional memoir of his love affairs with eleven women, all of whom happened to be named Karen, was published in 2003. He is still defending himself in a number of law suits brought by several of the apparently insufficiently fictionalized Karens.

He followed that with "The Manhattan Beach Project," a nominal sequel to The Deal, in that it follows the adventures of that book's hero, the intrepid Charlie Berns, who finds himself broke and attending meetings of the Brentwood chapter of Debtors Anonymous. Charlie manages to sell a reality TV show about the daily life of a warlord in Uzbekistan ("The Sopranos" meets "The Osbournes") to a secret division of ABC, named, appropriately, ABCD, charged with developing extreme reality TV series from a clandestine skunkworks in Manhattan Beach.

His latest book is entitled "An American Family," and it tells the story of an immigrant Jewish-American family on Long Island, beginning on the day John Kennedy was shot and ending the day before 9/11. This multi-generational saga, told from the point of view of five siblings born in the 1940's, traces the Pearl family's odyssey into the melting pot of twentieth century America.

He continues to dabble in film and television. He was the writer/creator of the Showtime TV series, "Beggars & Choosers," a darkly comic send-up of the television business. More recently, he spent a season in the writers' room of "Desperate Housewives," where he helped concoct some of the Byzantine plot lines of that infamous dark suburban soap opera.

Praise for Lefcourt's novels:

"You can count the wonderful novels about Hollywood on two hands...The Deal is one of them."
--LA Times

"...A hilarious romp through the world of national politics. [Lefcourt's] hapless hero is the perfect foil for all that's gone wrong in Washington...An irreverent, amusing read."
--USA Today

"This neon farce lights up the political spectrum to the left and the right of the primary colors...The Woody is like the best of farces, less interested in mocking historical figures and more keen to turn its light elsewhere."
--LA Times

"A good-natured romp through the dream factory of the 1990's."
--The New York Times

"Lefcourt flirts with offensiveness but never goes all the way."
----Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Peter Lefcourt's new novel, "An American Family", which is published in e-book form only, is one of the best novels I've read in the last five years or so. It's not "fine literature", but rather the compulsively readable story of three generations of a family on Long Island. Lefcourt begins his book on Nov 22, 1962 and ends it on Sep 11, 2001. The time in between - those years of Woodstock, drugs, the Vietnam War, the gay movement and AIDS crisis and many other pieces of 40 years of American society - is written by Lefcourt with not one false step.

Peter Lefcourt is the author of seven or eight previous novels. He's a witty, perceptive writer who always writes about topical interests. His book, "The Woody", is hands-down the best political satire I've read and I'm still waiting for the movie version of his novel about gay baseball players, "The Dreyfus Affair", which has been optioned by two studios. But in this book, "An American Family", he lets up on the satire and instead writes with a breadth of wisdom about the ten main characters and many more secondary ones in a sweeping story that will speak to all of us who have experienced the changes in American society.

I don't know why this novel has only been issued in e-book form and why it was priced at the very reasonable price of $3.99. There are some spelling errors in the text and the name of one of the minor characters has been changed in one scene, but I think those editing errors are more often found in e-books than in print copies. But this is simply a family saga that should not be missed by anyone with an e-reader. Simply superb.
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I loved this book. More than that, I lived it. It brought back the drone and bicker of endless childhood seders with my Russian-immigrant parents and Yiddish-speaking grandparents. It made me recall my least Americanized uncle, who was not comfortable with table manners, and who, when he spoke, did so loudly and with his mouth full of food, lobbing gefilte fish shrapnel clear across the table with alarming accuracy. I, being the youngest, would sit at the kid's folding card table with my cousins and drink cherry soda in lieu of of wine. I hated wearing the dressy wool pants which made my legs itch, so my mother had me wear my pajamas underneath them, which actually did the job. But I never developed a taste for cherry soda.

Perhaps because of my own childhood experiences, Lefcourt's characters come alive for me; three-dimensional, passionate and flawed....especially Jackie, who definitely resides somewhere in my family. And Bobbie, the rebellious hippie, also belongs there, along with the usual smattering of over-achieving doctors and artists. Despite the diverse personalities, the different adult paths taken, the retained real or imagined wounds inflicted, the family somehow endures, held together by a mixture of guilt, love and DNA.

This book is a significant departure from the author's previous works, with their edgy satirical indictments of Hollywood and the media. There's a touch of that in Bobby's adventures in the music industry, but most of the humor of An American Family is softer, exisiting in the disconnect between the immigrant older generation and the eagerly-assimilating children. I don't know if Jewish families are any more colorful, neurotic, or empathic than other ethnic groups. But even without my pre-existing mind-set, this is a family epic that will touch your heart.
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Novelist Peter Lefcourt's epic drama, "An American Family", follows the tribulations of an extended family in New York City living through that crucible, 38-year period in America's history starting with John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 and ending with the suicide attacks in 2001 that brought down Gotham's World Trade Center. A yeasty brew of conflict and humor, the progress of the Perl family (fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, children, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, lovers, friends, and foes) propels them all through that unique era's onrushing changes; the free sex and drug use of the Woodstock generation clashes with the traditional values of the family's older members; male chutzpah fuels the family's young males to risk all in their quest for power in both business, politics, and the Vietnam war; the advent of the women's movement, the pill, and abortion rights adds surprise challenges to the family's marriages and interpersonal relationships, and the gay movement comes bravely into the home in spite of the fearsome AIDS epidemic of the 1980's. The Perl's unfolding story illuminates the complexity of family ties, the loyalties, the deceptions, the forgiveness, the fresh starts, the inherent strife and humor of close-knit, judgmental individuals confronted with both the love and obligations of family bonding...Author Lefcourt's writing is fast-paced, concise, extraordinarily entertaining -- and he is a master of subtlety foreshadowing plot surprises that consistently leave the reader with a smile or a tear in the eye... My only concern about "An American Family" is that because it is only being published electronically, it may not receive the publicity and readership that it so richly deserves.
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