Grow­ing Up Golem: How I Sur­vived My Moth­er, Brook­lyn, and Some Real­ly Bad Dates

  • From the Publisher
May 13, 2013
A mem­oir that plays off the Jew­ish leg­end of the golem. The author’s moth­er told Minkowitz that she could do Kab­bal­is­tic mag­ic she had learned from her grand­par­ents, and grow­ing up, Minkowitz believed her. Her moth­er, a com­pul­sive­ly cre­ative and unusu­al­ly pow­er­ful per­son, exert­ed even more sway over Minkowitz and her sis­ters than moth­ers nor­mal­ly do over their off­spring, so it is the mag­i­cal real­ist” premise of the book that instead of giv­ing birth to her, her moth­er actu­al­ly cre­at­ed Minkowitz as her own per­son­al golem. In the book, Minkowitz is a golem who tries to pass for human, becom­ing a rad­i­cal left-wing jour­nal­ist for the Vil­lage Voice, try­ing to have rela­tion­ships with real human women, but she remains, inescapably, a mere imi­ta­tion of a per­son, pro­grammed to take com­mands, not have feel­ings or take plea­sure. Mat­ters come to a head when Minkowitz turns 36 and all the false trap­pings of her life — career, friend­ships, sex life, even her body — sud­den­ly flare into cri­sis. How can she acquire a human soul?

Read Don­na Minkow­itz’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Don­na Minkowitz on How Judaism Became the Foun­da­tion of Her Mem­oir

Discussion Questions