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To Have Not Paperback – March 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: MacAdam/Cage; Original edition (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596923547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596923546
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 4.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,204,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Frances Lefkowitz writes with grace, wistfulness, melancholy, and strength. The road to self-knowledge is twisted and arduous, but when it goes through a writer as good as Ms. Lefkowitz, the ride is a delight. --Andrei Codrescu, bestselling author and NPR commentator for All Things Considered

About the Author

Frances Lefkowitz was born in San Francisco and moved nine times in seventeen years, mostly within the confines of the city. She attended Brown University on scholarships. Frances has published hundreds of magazine articles and earned two Pushcart Prize nominations. She lives in Petaluma, California.

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Customer Reviews

I greatly enjoyed this book.
marta szabo
I read the first half in one sitting, and had to force myself to put off reading the rest until the next day.
Patriece McGuinnis
Wonderfully written and a wonderful life story.
chickengirl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Island librarian on September 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
A good memoir is not just one person's story, I think. Rather, it finds those universal truths that allow all readers to relate on some level. It can't just be about particular events, although it should be full of those. No, a good memoir has to be about those things below the surface that make us human. To that end, Frances Lefkowitz has hit one out of the park in To Have Not.

In it she tells the story of a plucky kid left to fend for herself on stark urban streets, growing into a cautious adult who held her cards so close to the vest even she didn't know what was in her hand. Eventually she concludes, "every girl has her story, and though often it is not the one she wishes for, it is her story nonetheless."

Although my story is so very different, it seemed at times that Frances could see into my soul. Raised in poverty of many kinds, Frances has been gifted with an eye for the absurd and makes us laugh at her audacity all the while crying with her pain.

Tightly written with a journalist's sensibility and economy, this book was a joy to read. Funny, sad, wise and uplifting, I highly recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Freak on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frances Lefkowitz can write. This is an authentic, thought-provoking and inspiring story about real-life struggle, and also a fascinating portrait of San Francisco in the 1970s . Not just a tory about growing up and overcoming physical and emotional poverty, but a story of hope.
But it's the descriptions and the imagery that make this book so original and so moving. The author's word play and inventiveness make the story come alive. One image that comes to mind is just a little moment that takes place when the author is a very young girl. She's in the bathtub, eating a parsley sandwich that her mother has put on an aluminum pie tin, so it floats. You can imagine the soothing warm water, the fun of a floating sandwich, the harried mother in the next room, taking care of the other kids. The book is full of writing like this, economical yet lush, lingering long after you've finished reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Poppy J. on January 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is the author's journey to the realization that the world and how we get along in it - are not always divided up in a fair exchange. The fact is, someone else will always be better off than we are, and it is easy to ignore anyone not as well off as we profess to be - at any given time in our lives.

This author gets it. Poverty (or not having an abundantly enriched material existence) is both a state of mind and a condition. It can also be a choice, which happens more often than people believe. Growing up, the author realized that her parents scoffed at developing a competitive edge, initiating an entrepreneurial spirit or even trying harder - all because they may not have believed that their efforts would have worked (to achieve some monetary goal). If the brain does what you tell it to do, and you keep reinforcing all is lost, give up, don't try, you will eventually be rewarded with that subliminal wish to not succeed.

The memoir starts out a the beginning of the author's childhood and moves up to, and including her later life (family relations and teaching jobs). There are few love interests highlighted, more time is spent on the author's perceptions and personal actions regarding what she has or does not possess, and how this realization has affected her even today.

I strongly encourage the reading of this book. Anyone who has experienced a "guilty pleasure," knows what the author is getting at with this story. I'd guess that the author looked in the mirror growing up, and saw someone who was missing out on life based on dreams she felt could never come true. Later on, she might have seen in the mirror a woman who understood her limits, but made the decision not to accept them as her own prison - she found freedom in the journey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pat MacEnulty on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Frances Lefkowitz's memoir To Have Not kept me mesmerized. While the story is about her childhood deprivation (on many levels), Lefkowitz never resorts to self-pity or even blame. What she seeks is understanding and ultimately self-acceptance. This book presents her flawed parents to the reader with compassion. They are deeply human people who do the best they know how to do for their children; sometimes they manage to create wondrous experiences for their kids while other times they leave the kids to fend for themselves. Lefkowitz considers the issue of being poor in a materialistic culture such as ours, and she confronts the dangers that neglected children face from a world full of predators. That Lefkowitz turns out to be a funny, creative, and generous-hearted woman is a testament to her intelligence and to her willingness to look within and take responsibility for who she is and who she will become. I loved this thoughtful and provocative book.
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Format: Paperback
Another non-fiction title for me, the self-professed fiction-only reader. But the publicists keep sending these great sounding blurbs out so I seem to be branching out. And I am glad I am. I was sucked into Frances Lefkowitz's book, To Have Not from the first chapter. I think most of us can relate to Frances on some level. Whether you were rich or poor growing up, I think everyone has a feeling of resignation about some part of their life at some point in their life.

Through looking from the outside in to Frances' life I was able to look at my own life and be thankful for things. Frances did not have an easy life, but she never whines or cries about it. She does get angry, but I never felt the book was one of those "look at poor pitiful me" books, she mainly is stating the fact of her life with emotions thrown in as well. Frances takes the hits that life gives her and keeps moving, learning lessons along the way. I found her life fascinating from childhood to college and then when she moves on to trying to find a career. I also found her relationships interesting. The ones with her parents who were anything but typical parents and with her brothers, to the gifted children at her school and then the others she meets through life.

Frances' writing style is easy-going, I felt like I was talking with an old friend and catching up on her life. The story of her life flows easily and moves quickly with little lessons interspersed and Frances often taking stock of her life at that point and relating to something in the past. To Have Not is a fascinating memoir that takes a look at the ordinary, yet not-ordinary life of a child who grows into an adult and still is finding her way in the world. It was truly enjoyable and I look forward to reading more by Ms. Lefkowitz and I think reading To Have Not has also opened my doors to more memoirs in the future.
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