Pearl Goodman – Peril From Jackboots to Jack Benny

Pearl Goodman is a daughter of Holocaust survivors. She grew up in Toronto, the town her parents moved to after a five years post-WWII emigration to Israel. In her memoir / novel Pearl, mixes her own upbringing with her parents’ memories of the Nazi regime, the Wiedergutmachung and their feelings of wandering Jews, basically without a real home. As their parents fence their family like a concentration camp, Pearl and her brother grow up in a fast changing Western society. Through music, film, (Jewish) education, fashion, feminism, drugs, etc. you get a trip down memory lane of the 20th century. You may argue who’s the main character in this book: is it Peril / Pearl or her parents. Her older brother plays only a minor role. As their parents cling to their Holocaust period, still trying to communicate in Yiddish and behaving like life of the pre-war Jewish ghetto community setting can be copied to a large Canadian town, all is compared to the jackboots period of WWII. In the end however every man is mortal. When Dad dies and mothers ends up with Alzheimer disease, she’s in her Jack Benny period (ever the same age). And when God is left out of the picture, what makes a Jew Jewish, an often recurring theme in Jewish novels.

About the author

Pearl Goodman was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she taught high school English and Dramatic Arts. She then chose to train as a psychotherapist and has now been in private practice for the past ten years. Words and the human condition have always been her passions. Peril is her first published work.

The author offered me a review copy of her book through the Librarything Early Reviewers programme.