A hysterically funny and slyly insightful new collection of essays from New York Times best-selling author Annabelle Gurwitch, about her own family of scam artists and hucksters as well as the sisterhoods, temporary tribes, and show-biz klatches who have become surrogates along the way.
When Annabelle Gurwitch was a child, surrounded by a cast of epically dysfunctional relatives, she secretly prayed that it was all a terrible mistake. Maybe she was a long-lost daughter of Joni Mitchell or a reincarnation of the Russian princess Anastasia. A family of bootleggers, gamblers, and philanderers, the Gurwitches have always been a bit vague on the standard ideal of a loving and supportive family. Their definition includes people you can count on to borrow money from, hold a grudge against, or blackmail. One day, unfortunately, Gurwitch woke up to realize that she'd made similar, if not the same, mistakes as everyone else before her - just in a new zip code. Wherever she went, there they were.
With her wry wit and hard-learned wisdom, Gurwitch explores the inescapable yet rewarding realities of life with her relatives and her Southern Jewish roots as well as her flirtation with surrogate families including theater folk, pet people, the secular humanist brotherhood, a tribe of vegan cosplaying plushies, the "Arbonne sisterhood", and the ladies who brunch at Tel Aviv Gardens Retirement Home in Miami, Florida. She's learned that for better or for worse (you can guess which), it's worth celebrating the traditions, rituals, and recipes that come with a shared mythology and legacy, even if her own inheritance amounts to a small plot of land split between five relatives on an ill-fated sliver of sand known as Massacre Island.
Beautifully written, and filled with surreal yet poignant family moments and social commentary, Gurwitch delivers a provocative treatise on the importance and insanity of family. Wherever You Go, There They Are is a must-listen for anyone who's even occasionally been frustrated by the people they share carbohydrate-laden meals with every year.
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- Victoria Clarkson