Feh: A Memoir

Riverhead. Jul. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780735213265. $29. MEMOIR
Showtime’s Happyish creator and novelist/memoirist Auslander (Mother for Dinner) blends both a sense of despair and a self-deprecating whimsy in his latest memoir. It’s an approach he handles tremendously well. Part personal history, part self-examination, and part social commentary, his book addresses everything from Kafka to capitalism. Replete with lessons in Yiddish terminology from his Orthodox Jewish childhood, his book covers the biblical story he learned as a child that he decided to reconstruct in his adulthood. He describes his family as dysfunctional and details his move from New York to Los Angeles. That journey includes a bunch of people, from the famous—Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Wolf Blitzer, for example—to names many readers won’t recognize. Auslander’s storytelling is neither direct nor straightforward. He cajoles readers to keep up as he skips from Torah tales to the present day, from people-pleasing self-hatred to inventive prose that provokes laughter.
VERDICT A page-turning memoir that shouldn’t be missed. Auslander’s nonfiction writing style is often compared to David Sedaris, and readers will see why with this title. It could motivate readers to keep trudging onward, even when life seems overwhelming.
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