When Joanne Jacobson was five years old, her family, whose Jewish roots were in the heartland of Eastern Europe, moved to a Chicago lakeside suburb in search of an American dream. In this memoir, Jacobson takes the reader through her family’s saga with a set of engaging short stories that recall the days of her childhood. Her family vacations, the questions she asked her father about the impact of the Holocaust on the families, and her secret desires, dreams, and often nightmares are recalled with vivid detail. Black and white family photographs are scattered throughout the book. The title chapter reveals painful secrets about the author’s struggle with food, and how that struggle affected her ability to buy clothes, participate in family functions, and gain self-esteem as a young woman.
At times the stories lack cohesion and a clear point of view. Nevertheless, Jacobson is a compelling story teller, and her rich use of language keeps the reader engaged.