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An American Family by [Lefcourt, Peter]
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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
Page Flip: 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
  • ASIN: B007OWONSC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,954 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Very well written book about a family in the 1950's. It captures the time period in an accurate way that touches a nerve in those who have lived through it. The author makes us care about the characters and what they are living through.
Thoroughly enjoyable.
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There's an old Hasidic saying that God created people because he loves stories. By extension, he was counting on storytellers who not only have a story to tell but have the talent to tell them. And what better teller of tales than Peter Lefcourt? And what better setting than the trials and tribulations of a multi-generational New York family, harkening back to the old country as the younger members assimilate, play both ends against the middle and/or rebel? All of this played out against a backdrop of shattering and provocative incidents that shaped and changed us all. In short, here we have a microcosm of the chosen people, chosen really to help Peter Lefcourt reveal how, no matter where we find ourselves, we have to stumble and strive, alone and together, through our loopy yet hopeful journey.
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First a disclaimer: I'm a huge Peter Lefcourt fan.

That said "An American Family" caught me by surprise, as it's a departure from the usual satire and wit that I've come to love from Lefcourt. The book tells the story of several generations of a Jewish family in New York. However it's not your usual book of "this is my family and they're awesome" but rather a deeply rich, engaging story of a family, their turmoil, success, and heartaches. You see a family from the inside and get to know their individual personalities. As a boring gentile I found the Jewish culture to be very educational and entertaining. Now I finally understand what all those words meant that the old Jewish men at the chess club would say when I was a kid.

The best part about An American Family is that the book never drags you down. There's always something to look forward to and I found myself not wanting to put it down the more I read. You might also find yourself comparing the characters and events in the book to your own family and life. From Woodstock to Brooklyn, the Kennedy assassination to 9/11. The most poignant moments in the book for me were how Lefcourt wrote of September 11, 2011 and the emotions of everyone in the family. Very moving.

If you've ever thought you had a quirky family, or ever said to yourself "you could write a book about this family" then you'll love "An American Family". It's not the usual satire that many have come to expect from Lefcourt, but this book proves he's a brilliant writer that's a cut above the rest.
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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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