Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Palm Trees on the Hudson by Elliot Tiber

A witty, fascinating memoir.

Elliot grew up the only son in an interesting Jewish family.  Fighting to find his own way, he left for college in the hopes of getting into the design business.  No matter what he did though, he couldn't get his mother's approval.  Add to that the fact that Elliot grew up a homosexual in the 50's and 60's and the fact that he was pretty naive when it came to others.  This book takes us through Elliot's life until the late 60's, at which point he continues in Taking Woodstock.

I know this sounds terrible, but I love gay writers.  Yes, that's totally prejudiced, but in general they seem to have such an open and honest sense of humor.  I'm not saying straight people don't.  *sigh*  My political incorrectness will be my downfall.  Anyway, Elliot has a sparkling wit and snarky sense of humor.  He uses these constantly to paint a comical look at his life...most of the time.  It's not all comedy.  Even when things are at what seems to be the worst, Elliot has a way of 'keeping it real' and giving us the best imaginable picture.  Normally, with memoirs, I find them interesting, sometimes humorous.  With this one, I really want to meet Elliot's family.  It's almost like a tiny piece of interesting history.  I want to see the bungalows they invested in and see a picture of his penny-pinching mother.  Hmm....Hey, Elliot?  Can you e-mail me a picture of your parents???  Pleeeeeeeeease?!  I won't post them unless you say it's ok!

For memoir lovers, this is a must.  The best scene in the book (for me, Miss Wizard of Oz), was a tete a tete Elliot and Judy Garland participated in.  I was mesmerized by the scene!  For those who aren't into the whole 'factual story' thing, don't worry.  Most of this book is so outlandish (No offense, Elliot!)  that you'll forget you're reading a true story and just have fun with it.  Full of humor and depth, this is a great quick read for anyone.

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