Friday, February 12, 2010

No Real Secrets in Secrets of a Jewish Mother


To some degree, I like every book project I work on. And in this economy, every check that arrives in my mailbox is near and dear...and usually spent before it's clear.

However, there's a promise implied when a book's title includes the word secret. But in Secrets of a Jewish Mother by Jill Zarin, with her sister Lisa Wexler, and mother Gloria Kamen, the only secret may be why these women even got a book deal. But even that's no secret, since Zarin has (apparently) become a minor celebrity thanks to the reality show The Real Housewives of New York.

I did get some laughs from Jewish Mother, plus a couple admonitions about anti-Semitic remarks and jokes that still prevail in American culture. But unfortunately, Zarin, Wexler, and Kamen only reinforce the stereotypes they purportedly are trying to discredit. For instance, they encourage women to marry men who--frankly--can be whipped (that is, bossed around), they recommend pilfering cash from their husbands' wallets and keeping financial secrets so long as it's for their own benefit, and interfering in other people's lives (particularly their children's lives) whenever it is deemed "necessary." They also think that there should only be "one peacock in a relationship," and ideally that peacock should be the woman.

These would all be good knee slappers if the women didn't actually think they were dispensing good advice. I don't think I'm the only one who will get the message loud and clear: women should be the arm candy, and men should be the breadwinners who allow their wives anything.

But maybe I sound too tough on them. To their credit, there are a couple gems about being a good friend and the curative effects of a good matzoh ball soup. But all in all, I'd have to say that, after I finished the book, I was happy to have been paid to read it, rather than having paid to read it.

So save the $26 you might spend on this one and keep it in your "knipple." You never know when you'll need it for something necessary.

1 comment:

Shirley Jump said...

Wow! That's not advice I'd want my daughter following. At least you were paid to read it, as you said :-)