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Reviewed by Keith Julius for Readers' Favorite
In The Yiddish Gangster's Daughter, author Joan Lipinsky Cochran introduces us to Becky Ruchinsky, a forty-something mother of two who finds her life moving in some totally unexpected directions. Her two sons have headed off to college, leaving her at home with her husband, Daniel, a renowned oncologist, and Becky has finally managed to make amends with her elderly father, Tootsie. Tootsie, a resident of the Schmuel Bernstein Jewish Home for the Aged, has been alone for two years now following the death of Becky's mother. But even before then their relationship had been strained, after Becky learned of her father's infidelity toward her mother. She tries to be a good daughter, but she can't forgive him for the pain he brought to the family. Returning home after a visit with the old man, Becky receives a phone message informing her that her husband, Daniel, has likewise been cheating on her. Overwhelmed with emotions, she feels her life crashing down around her as she throws Daniel out of the house. How could things possibly get any worse?
But get worse they do. While Becky is visiting her father, Tootsie lets slip a casual comment regarding the fact that he was involved with gangsters in Miami before Becky was born. She pressures him for more details and begins to learn the truth. Though the story is told predominately from Becky's point of view, we get occasional glimpses from Tootsie's perspective as well, as he reflects on his past and the choices he made to support his family. The story is richly detailed with believable characters and realistic dialogue, and paced to keep the reader interested and anticipating the next revelation, as we learn some shocking secrets regarding the family history and the role Tootsie and her Uncle Moe played in it. Joan Lipinsky Cochran presents an intriguing story line as The Yiddish Gangster's Daughter begins to piece together the fragments of her father's life into a coherent story filled with poor decisions and bad mistakes and, yes, gangsters. It's a lifestyle that eventually overtakes Becky and threatens not only her life but the lives of her loved ones. The book will have you eagerly turning pages as you await the revelations at the end of Becky's search to discover the truth regarding the father she thought she knew.