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Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite
My American Dream and How it Ended is a memoir by Robert Goodman detailing his life growing up in a middle class family in Beverly Hills during the 1940s and 1950s. Goodman details a modest home life and explores how his parents' childhood and Jewish heritage shaped them as parents and, in turn, shaped him. The first few chapters focus on the early years of his life and his childhood, nurtured in a world of conservative values and the belief in all that America had to offer, as well as the optimism for social change as things moved into the sixties. With that as a backdrop, Goodman also details the blossoming romance with his first wife as he struggled to figure out the career path that was right for him. Eventually, it culminates in marriage and a move to Israel in the early 1970s.
A highly personal story, My American Dream and How it Ended by Robert Goodman still achieves the difficult task of being a universal tale of coming of age and finding oneself. Goodman manages to be both personable and personal and doesn't shy away from the less kind aspect of his life, telling things as they happened as well as giving insight as to why things turned out the way they did. I enjoyed this look back at an era which, while simpler in terms of technology, still has many relevant social issues today. It is also a great read for anyone looking for a glimpse of the Jewish experience in mid century America, as well as during the early days of modern Israel.