Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: To Have Not by Frances Lefkowitz

To Have Not
To Have Not by Frances Lefkowitz
Publisher: MacAdam/Cage
Publish Date:March 1, 2010
Paperback, 300 pages
Non-fiction; Memoir 

My Review:
Another non-fiction title for me, the self-professed fiction-only reader.  But the publicists keep sending these great sounding blurbs out so I seem to be branching out.  And I am glad I am.  I was sucked into Frances Lefkowitz's book, To Have Not from the first chapter.  I think most of us can relate to Frances on some level.  Whether you were rich or poor growing up, I think everyone has a feeling of resignation about some part of their life at some point in their life.

Through looking from the outside in to Frances' life I was able to look at my own life and be thankful for things.  Frances did not have an easy life, but she never whines or cries about it.  She does get angry, but I never felt the book was one of those "look at poor pitiful me" books, she mainly is stating the fact of her life with emotions thrown in as well.  Frances takes the hits that life gives her and keeps moving, learning lessons along the way.  I found her life fascinating from childhood to college and then when she moves on to trying to find a career.  I also found her relationships interesting.  The ones with her parents who were anything but typical parents and with her brothers, to the gifted children at her school and then the others she meets through life.

Frances' writing style is easy-going, I felt like I was talking with an old friend and catching up on her life.  The story of her life flows easily and moves quickly with little lessons interspersed and Frances often taking stock of her life at that point and relating to something in the past.  To Have Not is a fascinating memoir that takes a look at the ordinary, yet not-ordinary life of a child who grows into an adult and still is finding her way in the world.  It was truly enjoyable and I look forward to reading more by Ms. Lefkowitz and I think reading To Have Not has also opened my doors to more memoirs in the future.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

Poverty has many guises: a lack of money, of course, but it can also be a lack of love or choice, pleasure or safety, faith or confidence or possibility. Poverty seeps into the soul and deadens the spirit. In To Have Not, Frances Lefkowitz reflects on her own life of poverties. A poor white girl from 1970s San Francisco, Lefkowitz tries to escape her upbringing through an Ivy League scholarship, only to realize that upward mobility is not all it s cracked up to be: being a Have Not and not having aren't necessarily the same thing. Crashing headfirst into boundaries of class, race, and sex, Lefkowitz emerges scarred but whole, humor intact. To Have Not speaks to anyone who has ever battled the feeling of being cut off from the world s abundance, and then settled, eventually, somewhere between resignation and appreciation for all they do have.

About the Author: 
Frances Lefkowitz was born in San Francisco and moved nine times in seventeen years, mostly within the confines of the city. She attended Brown University on scholarships. Frances has published hundreds of magazine articles and earned two Pushcart Prize nominations. She lives in Petaluma, California.

FTC Information: I received this book from Lisa Steinke at BookSparks PR for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.