Hunger Artist: A Suburban Childhood
By Joanne Jacobson
Bottom Dog Press, 2007, $16
The opening sentence of Saul Bellow’s 1953 novel, The Adventures of Augie March, which begins, “I am an American, Chicago born – Chicago, that somber city – and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style,” arguably did as much as any novel to put Chicago on this century’s literary map. In creating the character March, a poor Chicago Jew living during the Depression, Bellow, himself a Chicago Jew, also revolutionized Jewish literature.
In Jacobson’s memoir, the global, the national, and the sociological pass through the personal, and where Augie March becomes an everyman of sorts, Jacobson’s experiences become both hers and part of a larger picture. How Jewish identity and suburbia will continue to evolve is anyone’s guess, but memoirs like Jacobson’s are great tools for examining those evolutions with both a literary and a sociological eye.Menachem Wecker
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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