Have you ever been sitting at a particularly ridiculous family gathering and thought, Man, I should write a book about this? We’ve never actually gone through with it, but Annabelle Gurwitch has. The result is a hilarious new essay collection, Wherever You Go, There They Are.
As a kid growing up in south Florida in the '70s, Gurwitch (now a writer and actress) was convinced she was given to the wrong parents at birth. She hoped she was Joni Mitchell’s long lost daughter, or a reincarnation of the Russian princess Anastasia—but she ended up with a group of southern Jews she lovingly describes as “bootleggers, gamblers and philanderers.”
In these 13 essays, she talks about a fierce childhood rivalry with her older sister that culminated in a picture-day haircut nightmare, a series of increasingly unhinged care packages from a senile grandmother and that time her dad casually told her she had inherited an island in Alabama.
Frequently jumping between different life stages (in which she unsuccessfully attempts to separate herself from her clan), Gurwitch’s writing reads like a conversation you’d have with your funniest, snarkiest friend.
She does delve into slightly more serious territory when she talks about coming to grips with her parents’ mortality. Luckily her solution—a Tel Aviv retirement community in Miami—returns us to the light and breezy.
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