Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beauty Would be So Proud

I just finished reading My Fat Dad, a memoir by Dawn Lerman, and I COMPLETELY loved it. My Fat Dad is a memoir centered on food, the food she grow up with, the food of her relatives. I learned a lot about my own upbringing from Dawn's writing - reading her book was like catching up with a long-lost cousin. In some ways our childhoods were identical. We must be nearly the same age and both of our fathers were in advertising in midtown Manhattan. There were so many parallels. I want my brothers and sisters and cousins to read this book. I was grateful for having read her story, and she told it so well.

I woke up this morning thinking about how important Dawn's grandmother Beauty was to her and how Beauty fostered, inspired, and nurtured a love of cooking in Dawn. She received everything Dawn shared with her with wisdom and compassion. This love was carried from Beauty to Dawn to Dawn's sister April. With Dawn's urging and help April was cast as Orphan Annie in a production that traveled around the country.

I empathized with Dawn's feelings of emptiness and abandonment in an environment of privilege. Dawn's life-saving grandmother Beauty made me think of my own grandmother Sophie. It was heartbreaking to imagine Dawn's distracted parents, the atmosphere of benign neglect. How could one not completely love and adore this child? Dawn described her upbringing with sincerity, clarity, and grace. She grew up in a particular time and place which I recognized completely.

I loved this memoir. Dawn is a warrior telling her truth. She found her voice and she used it beautifully and compassionately. As with the best books I was nourished having read it. Beauty would be so proud.