- File Size: 1175 KB
- Print Length: 454 pages
- Publication Date: March 25, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007OWONSC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,298 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
An American Family Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
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."
"...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."
"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."
"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."
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Last month I fell in love with the Perl family! Peter Lefcourt's witty, wild and wonderful written characters touched my heart, and brought back so many truthful, warm, familiar... Read morePublished 3 months ago by K & G Miller
This is an excellent tale of a Jewish family and the events that influenced all of our lives from the 1950's to 2011. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Chelan
Peter Lefcort.... who wrote the Dreyfuss Affair is one of the wittier writers around and this, his latest, continues moving his reputation in that regard forward.Published on February 3, 2014 by Cagney & Lacey's WebSquad
A family, not your own but you quickly become a member and recognize the truth of each character, the authenticity . Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by swede girl
Not sure why I was enticed to read. Not a particularly interesting family with no redeeming characteristics I could discover.Published on April 27, 2013 by Vintage Racer
I was hooked right from the first sentence. I was in 5th grade at the beginning of the novel. What a wonderful trip down memory lane. Read morePublished on March 30, 2013 by Joanne
When President Kennedy is assassinated, people across the United States were shocked. This is no different for the Perl family in Long Island. Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by Lisa
This is not the best book you will ever read, but it still intrigued me enough to read it all the way through. Read morePublished on October 15, 2012 by KLowe