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Tell Me How This Ends Well: A Novel by David…
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Tell Me How This Ends Well: A Novel

by David Samuel Levinson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It's fun sometimes to jump into books without really taking the time to read the synopsis and have a good idea of what you're getting yourself into. I did that with this book. I had no idea what to expect? Some kind of road trip gone sour? Who knows? But I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it more than expected.

The characters can be horrible in the best sort of way, especially the grandfather. Oh boy. He's a trip.

It's also timely, considering everything crazy going on in America and around the globe. This book is incredibly difficult to describe. It's a humorous and sad tale about a dysfunctional dystopian/end times Jewish family. Just read it. Somehow everything just works together is the best way. ( )
  AmandaWelling | Mar 29, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In his novel, Tell Me How This Ends Well, David Samuel Levinson has created one of the most despicable characters I’ve encountered in a long time, Julian Jacobson. Whether he’s belittling one of his three adult children, tampering with his dying wife’s oxygen tank, or smashing his grandson’s fingers in the barbecue grill, you know it’s not the first or last of his transgressions. So I, the reader, sympathized totally when siblings Mo, Edith, and Jacob decide they’ve had enough and plot to rid themselves of his dominance forever.

It’s 2022 Los Angeles, Israel is no longer a state, and anti-Semitism abounds. It’s amidst this turmoil that the Jacobson siblings arrive at Mo’s house to celebrate Passover and carry out their plan, Jacob and his partner Dietrich from Berlin and Edith from Atlanta. Parents Julian and Roslyn have driven from Texas to join the group for the holiday.

Tell Me How This Ends Well covers a lot of ground from anti-Semitism, politics, homophobia and strangely enough, America’s fixation with reality television. The Jacobson’s are the archetype of the dysfunctional family and Mr. Levinson portrays them with all of their eccentricities, at times sad, sometimes humorous, often annoying, and never dull. ( )
  bayleaf | Mar 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Levinson gives an interesting look at the near future in which Israel collapses and the US is home to several million Israeli refugees. The ensuing surge of anti-Semitism is graphically described. The novel centers around the Jacobson family, parents and three grown children. The initial problem I had is how unlikeable and unsympathetic they all are. It was very hard to care what happened to them. With the introduction of the mother, late in the book, that changed to a degree. My biggest problem was with the writing. The prose is rambling and disjointed. What was needed was stronger editing. I had to force myself to finish the book. ( )
  Oregonreader | Mar 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
David Samuel Levinson’s novel gives a terrifying glimpse of the devastation wrought by modern-day anti-Semitism on United States soil. Amidst surging anti-Semitic attitudes in Los Angeles in the slightly distant future of 2022, the Jacobson’s are a dysfunctional family, as we would find in a reality show, framed by the action of a reality show.

The final two chapters of Tell Me How This Ends Well made staying with the book worth the time invested in the three chapters before. This was a challenging read to find characters to either care for or detest Starting with Jacob, it was a struggle to get past the complaints ad self-doubts, and I was not convinced I could make it through to the end. The scattered thoughts that interrupted the action, thoughts, and dialog of Jacob’s approach to his brother’s house seemed at times uncomfortably similar to my own conversation habits, which might have contributed to my initial difficulties.

Like Jacob’s, Edith’s narrative rambled, and the path of her thoughts were strewn in a disjointed manner, including events that were not always elaborated, leaving me wondering what part they played in the combined narrative of the novel. Explanations often followed later. Because each sibling’s introduction revealed more about those who came before, the story line surrounding Moses provided greater depth about the first two siblings, and allowed me to reflect back to their perspectives, making greater sense of their narratives.

Roz became the first character I felt sympathy for, and returning to Jacob and Dietrich which brought hope to their relationship and gave occasion to hope for its continuation. The resolution of the Julian Jacobson’s unrepentant cruelty was unexpected, twisting my expectations and increasing my respect and my hope for the family’s survival.

I received this book as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer. ( )
  nkuelbs | Mar 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you want to learn about the important issues facing Americans today, read about this family. "Tell Me How This Ends Well" by David Samuel Levinson is about a Jewish family. There are three siblings: Mo, Jacob and Edith. These three deal with personal problems as well as troubles with their parents. This family is ordinary because of their differences. No family circle conforms to an exact Pollyanna image. This family is extraordinary because of a murderous plan put together by the brothers. David Samuel Levinson book becomes a premeditated bloody mystery.

The plan is shocking. However, it is not without reality. Who knows what siblings discuss in their bedrooms and in their cars before coming to the dinner table? I liked the fact that the author surprised me and frightened me with this deadly plan.

Many men do not get along with their fathers. This father,for example, is set in his ways. He is outspoken. He wants his children to look like a photograph taken during a picnic. They must smile and say cheese all at the same time.

To say the least, he is in danger of stagnation. Will he stop talking and truly listen? Without change, I fear he will lose his family and stand alone smelling the bottom of a pond. When Jacob brings home Dieter, it is a shock. The incident is likened to the movie "Guess Who's Coming For Dinner?"

There are high drama moments which will cause shock, sadness, puzzlement, etc. The family is definitely a living organism. In whispering tones, I will share Dieter and Jacob's romantic displays of affection. You might wish that their romantic displays would happen in a closed barn.

Then, there is Edith his lovely, sweet daughter. Who knew? Aye, Yai, Yai, I hear the father groaning. His prize daughter, the school teacher is facing troubles too. Again, reality stalks the home with a sash of shame or anger.

Any one of us might have to dance this high energy dance in our own living rooms one day, or have we already danced it and want to try to win the contest again with our secret selves.

This book is a 'what would I do if' moment. Seriously, it is the chance to decide what is more important? High ideals or an unbroken family bond? "Tell Me How This Ends Well" is definitely not boring.

It also includes the dreadful days of old age, illness and death. Does life just circle around to nothingness or is it a new beginning? David Samuel Levinson seems to ask us to just 'think' It really won't hurt. Let's just look at the hard stuff where Pollyanna might disappear for a while and where there is no Peter Pan. ( )
  Topazshell | Mar 22, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451496884, Hardcover)

An ambitious, gripping, darkly funny family drama about the reckoning of three adult siblings with their profoundly flawed parents, set during Passover in a near-future America rife with anti-Semitism and terror, from an award-winning short-story writer

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:03:24 -0500)

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