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The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White…
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The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew (American…

by Sue William Silverman

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Sue William Silverman took me on her search for identity in her memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club. With wry humor and brutal honesty, she drew me into her story and kept me suspended in a rapid-fire series of deep reflections into her inner turmoil as a young Jewish girl who struggles to find stability and meaning in her life.

In a soul-baring way, this memoir covers the terror of childhood molestation at the hands of her father, her struggles to find her identity as a young Jewish girl in a WASP school and neighborhood, her two marriages, her journey into sexual addiction in her adult years and her ultimate, hard-earned recovery.

"Swimming like a gefilte fish" is a metaphor for her need to feel normal and fit in with her Christian schoolmates. Her attachment to Pat Boone is a metaphor for the stable, loving father and life she craves. As a squeaky-clean Christian pop star, he is the antithesis of her sexually-abusive father and a symbol of hope for her as she seeks an escape from the pain of her abuse.

Her writing is fluid and engaging. She moves in and out of time frames flawlessly. Her free-flow thoughts through different points of view -as an adolescent, a sexual addict, an adult on the road to self-awareness and recovery-left me feeling deeply connected to her inner chaos and her eventual journey to self. As a reader, I was mesmerized by her ability to bring me deep into her experience and show me the power of resilience in healing from the terrors of abuse. She also helped me to connect with my own memories of a time when Pat Boone was a symbol of stability and strong family values.

Sue William Silverman delivers on her promise to share her life in vivid, gripping detail. Her memoir portrays the guts and glory of abuse recovery. ( )
  kathleen.pooler | Mar 13, 2014 |
Sue William Silverman has outdone herself with The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. This, her latest memoir, is a step outside her narrative comfort zone, written in multiple points of view and formats. There’s the straight narrative, sections directly addressing the Gent[i]le Reader, and even a radio script starring Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Girl Reporter Sue. As an adolescent, Sue worshipped Pat Boone for his purity, cleanliness (which was next to his godliness) and All-American Christian morality—everything Sue’s child-molesting father was not. In Sue’s mind, Pat Boone could/would rescue her from her life of terror. Sue’s earlier memoirs, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You and Lovesick: One Woman’s Journey Through Sexual Addiction (later made into a Lifetime Movie), are grittier with a traditional first person narrative throughout. Of course, Pat Boone, who Sue eventually met—twice—is a metaphor for the moral, uncomplicated life she wishes she’d had. And she uses the gefilte fish—certainly not a fish any way you look at it—as a metaphor for Sue’s alienation as a Jewish girl wishing to be a gentile—so normal, refined, with no crazy Russian grandmother in the attic. The memoir describes her adolescence as the only Jew in a WASPy New Jersey suburb, her two marriages, her sexual addiction, and her experience of being present at the shooting of her second memoir, where Sally Preston had a body double for nude scenes, reminding Sue of the danger in which she placed herself and of her vulnerability.

Did I mention that I totally loved this book? ( )
  new.wave.librarian | Mar 5, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803264852, Paperback)

Gentile reader, and you, Jews, come too. Follow Sue William Silverman, a one-woman cultural mash-up, on her exploration of identity among the mishmash of American idols and ideals that confuse most of us—or should. Pat Boone is our first stop. Now a Tea Party darling, Boone once shone as a squeaky-clean pop music icon of normality, an antidote for Silverman’s own confusing and dangerous home, where being a Jew in a Christian school wasn’t easy, and being the daughter of the Anti-Boone was unspeakable. And yet somehow Silverman found her way, a “gefilte fish swimming upstream,” and found her voice, which in this searching, bracing, hilarious, and moving book tries to make sense of that most troubling American condition: belonging, but to what?

Picking apricots on a kibbutz, tramping cross-country in a loathed Volkswagen camper, appearing in a made-for-television version of her own life: Silverman is a bobby-soxer, a baby boomer, a hippy, a lefty, and a rebel with something to say to those of us—most of us—still wondering what to make of ourselves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:39 -0400)

Follow Sue William Silverman, a one-woman cultural mash-up, on her exploration of identity among the mishmash of American idols and ideals that confuse most of us or should. Pat Boone is our first stop. Now a Tea Party darling, Boone once shone as a squeaky-clean pop music icon of normality, an antidote for Silverman's own confusing and dangerous home, where being a Jew in a Christian school wasn't easy, and being the daughter of the Anti-Boone was unspeakable. And yet somehow Silverman found her way.… (more)

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