Growing Up Golem: How I Survived My Mother, Brooklyn and Some Really Bad Datesbuy ebook for $9.99buy printbook for $19.99
"Rich and wild, dark and funny, as fearless as her legendary journalism and as scary as a fairy tale. A serious writer at the top of her game. I love this book.”
—Terry Bisson, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author
"Startlingly fresh… Donna Minkowitz takes a dazzling leap of fancy and then writes a new bridge into being behind her for the rest of us to follow."
—Ellis Avery, author of The Last Nude
In the tradition of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Donna Minkowitz’s Growing Up Golem is a sharply funny memoir about growing up inspired by the Jewish legend of the golem. The author's mother told Minkowitz that she could do Jewish magic and, growing up, Minkowitz completely believed her. Her mother, an unusually domineering figure, exerted even more sway over Minkowitz than mothers typically do over their children, so it is the "magical realist" premise of the book that instead of giving birth to her, her mother actually created Minkowitz as her own personal golem, a little automaton made of clay.
In the book, Minkowitz struggles to control her own life as an adult, even as she publicly appears to be a radical, take-no-prisoners lesbian journalist. In her career, dating, and especially with her own eccentric family, Minkowitz finds herself compelled to do what other people want, to horrible and hilarious effect. In sex, for example, she often feels like "a giant robot dildo."
Matters come to a head when a disabling arm injury renders her almost helpless (and permanently unable to use a computer). She must find a way to work, find people who love her, and stand up for her own desires—against the bossing she's always tolerated from girlfriends, mother, and every other single person—before her injury gets even worse.