My lifelong friend Ellen, whom I’ve known since 4th grade, is Jewish. I, on the other hand, am Italian. We lived a block away from each other and spent a lot of time in each other’s houses. Holidays, birthdays, after school, weekends – we couldn’t get enough of each other. We loved everything about it, including our ethnic grandparents.
So for me, reading The Smartest Woman I Know was like that first delicious sip of a steaming glass of lemon tea for my soul. Ilene Beckerman writes with the clear voice of her Jewish grandmother and shares precious tidbits of her wisdom for each of us to treasure. I can almost hear my friend Ellen’s grandmother saying the same things.
About food: The right food can solve any problem – pot roast and potatoes for depression, blintzes with sugar and sour cream for moodiness. (Who can argue with that?)
About elevators: “Why ride up and down in a closet? On the escalator, if there’s a fire, I can get off in a hurry.”
About the word "So": “So I’ll tell you how to lose weight. Don’t eat so much.”
About men: “A husband is like buying new shoes. You might find something you like right away, but if it’s not a good fit it will never make you happy.”
If you’ve got an ethnic bone anywhere in your body, you’ll enjoy this little tome packed with the wit and wisdom of a generation. Maybe you’ll start to think of a few things your grandmother used to say. Maybe you’ll even write them down. So who’s stopping you?