Abby November’s Tales of a Bubbe (grandmother) is a big-hearted love letter in poetry and vignettes to her life, to her beloved family, and to her cherished heritage.
This slender book of words will show you the story of November’s life, a life we all universally share with our own variations: the joyous times, the challenging times, times of welcome and loss, the laughter and the tears in her word pictures that tell the unique story of her life.
“When I grow up I want to become a Bubbe,” the author tells us in the early pages. She loved both of her bubbes and delighted, first, in her own two children and later as a bubbe for her grandchildren.
If she loved her bubbes, the author absolutely adored her zayde (grandfather) and walked with him as a young child throughout his lengthy lifetime. In “Stars Over Brooklyn,” the author reminisces, “Summer evenings were spent on our red brick front porch. Looking back, I remember Zayde and me enjoying the cooler evening breezes and jo, pointing out the constellations, the stars and heavenly bodies. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I loved being the one sitting with Zayde on the green metal rusted porch chairs.”
She further reflects on holidays, remembering little of the tangible gifts and much more of the image of “a pigtailed girl hanging on every word of wisdom from the mouth of her beloved Zayde.”
Divided into four parts, the first tells about November’s first half of life. Part Two, “Tales from the Street,” holds poignant and powerful prose and poetry created during the author’s 2004-to-the-present-time volunteerism with the Downtown San Diego Food Pantry.
Part Three is comprised of some of the author’s beloved recipes, each including the ingredient of unspoken love, with her readers. (I’m presently gathering ingredients in this cool winter season in the Central Shenandoah Valley for “Bubbe’s Kosher Chicken Soup.”)
The final part of the book, titled “From this Moment ~ My Recipe,” is a singular page that brings all the previous words into a full life circle.
Lastly, kindly note that although I worked with the author at varied times more than a decade ago, my review is my professional, unbiased response to her memoir.