I think I’ve told you before that, for me at least, one of the (many) perks of being a part of the 5 Minutes for Books team is the opportunity to read books that I wouldn’t have otherwise, books a little outside the norm. Case in point: memoir is fast becoming a favorite among my genres of choice and
I’m ashamed to admit that it’s segment of the book world I’ve never really visited until Jennifer
pushed me into it recommended it.
Mort Zachter’s memoir Dough is a perfect example of a book I probably would not have picked up on my own browsing amazon or Barnes and Noble, yet it is a story I thoroughly enjoyed and couldn’t help telling others about. From the publisher’s description:
Mort Zachter’s childhood revolved around a small, struggling shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that sold bread and pastries. His was a classic story—a close-knit, hard-working family struggling to make it in America.
Only they were rich. Very rich.
At age thirty-six, after struggling to work his way though night school, Zachter discovered that his bachelor uncles, who ran the shop, had amassed millions of dollars in stocks and bonds. As he starts to clean out their apartment, Zachter discovers clues to their hidden lives that raise more questions than they answer. And in the end, he comes to realize that although he may not understand his family—and maybe never will—forgiveness and acceptance are what matter most.
Zachter’s memoir is multi-layered. Dough is, in one sense, a story of a young Jewish boy growing up in New York. It is the story of a hard working immigrant family struggling to make ends meet. It is the story of choosing between your dream and your sense of responsibility. At the same time, it is the story of the grown up Zachter discovering his uncles’ secret millions and his resulting sense of betrayal and anger. And yet it is also a story of money, dough as it were, and the question of whether money buys happiness or not and what sort of difference in destiny riches might make.
Dough is an amazing tale. How in the world do two Jewish businessmen acquire millions of dollars and yet live as paupers for decades? What makes them hoard their wealth, refusing even to pay their sister for the hours she devoted to the store? Not all of his questions are answered and Zachter’s resentment is real, understandably so. He writes honestly of his disappointment with a wry (rye) acceptance that things are not always as they appear.
A completely fascinating read.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….