Growing Up Golem
How I Survived Brooklyn, My Mother and Some Really Bad DateseBook - 2013
In the tradition of Portnoy's Complaint and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Donna Minkowitz's Growing Up Golem is an incisive, often funny memoir about growing up inspired by the Jewish legend of the golem. The author's mother told Minkowitz and her sisters as children that she could do kabalistic magic, and growing up, Minkowitz believed it. Her mother, a compulsively creative and unusually powerful figure, exerted even more sway over Minkowitz and her sisters than mothers typically do over their offspring, so it is the "magical realist" premise of the book that instead of giving birth to her, her mother actually created Minkowitz as her own personal golem: a little clay servant designed to do anything it is ordered to. In the book, Minkowitz struggles to control her own life, even as she publicly appears to be a radical, take-no-prisoners lesbian journalist. In her career, dating, even with friends—and especially with her own eccentric, hyper-sexualized, intellectual family—Minkowitz finds herself compelled to do what other people want, to horrible and hilarious effect. In sex, for example, she often feels like "a giant robot dildo." Matters come to a head when a disabling arm injury renders her almost helpless—unable to use a computer or even lift a glass of water. She must find a way to work, find people who love her, and stand up for her own desires—against the bossing she's always tolerated from girlfriends, mother, and anyone else she meets—before her injury gets even worse.