Deanna Shapiro looks back at the Jewish immigrant family that shaped her with honesty, understanding, forgiveness, and admiration. Moving with ease and grace between poetry and prose, she addresses familiar themes of immigrant life, such as uprooting, sacrifice, loyalty and the pull and push of assimilation, through a uniquely personal and gendered lens.
Jewish Women's Archive
Deanna Shapiro's latest book, "The Place You Live In: A Multigenerational Immigrant Story," is the perfect blend between prose narrative and poetry. Shapiro's stunning skill for poetry complements the story of her grandparent's journey from Galicia to the Lower East Side of New York City. The book also tells the tale of the family's life in the Bronx and the Catskill Mountains in the 1940s and 1950s. As a descendant of immigrants, readers can easily identify with both the pathos and humor of Shapiro's family's story. It's a book to be read and savored slowly, like a tasty home cooked meal.
Sandra Stillman Gartner
Co-author of "To Life! A Celebration of Vermont Jewish Women"
In this lovingly written memoir, Deanna Shapiro, recalls the perspective of a quiet child in a large, outspoken family, navigating America in the mid-20th century from Tar Beach in the Bronx to False Porch in the Catskills. The complexities of immigration, ambition, and tradition are played out in prose and poetry, the family portrayed with personality and imagery, revealed by Shapiro within a "culture of small comforts".
Author of "Out of History's Junk Jar"
Deanna Shapiro did the family research many of us only talk about doing. Sharing her very personal memories and reflections of family members and family dynamics in a wonderful balance of narrative and poetry, Deanna takes us into the world of her immigrant family. It is a story which echoes the experience of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish families who left Eastern Europe for the United States at the turn of the 20th Century. It is the story of family, memory, the desire to fit in and assimilate, stories of personal successes and failures. In her quiet, unassuming voice, Deanna touches on the profound changes to family, religion and personal identity that have occurred over the past century. It is a window on "from where we have come." Better or worse than where we are? A question for each of us to consider.
Rabbi Ira J. Schiffer
Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life