Author Linda I. Meyers shares stories from a colorful life — touched by tragedy, rich with humor — in debut memoir, “The Tell”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK CITY, New York – Linda I. Meyers was 28 and the mother of three young boys when her mother, after a lifetime of threats, took her own life. Staggered by conflicting feelings of relief and remorse, Meyers believed that the best way to give meaning to her mother’s death was to make changes to her own life. Bolstered by the women’s movement of the ‘70s, she left her marriage, went to college and received her Psy.D., raised a family, and established a fulfilling career.
Written with irony and humor and sprinkled with Yiddish, “The Tell” is one woman’s inspirational story of before and after, and ultimately of emancipation and purpose. With stories ranging from witty to heartbreaking, “The Tell” showcases Meyers’ talent as a gifted storyteller. She chronicles her experience coming of age in a dysfunctional Jewish family during the ‘40s and ‘50s, her summer romance with a boy who grew up to be fashion designer Ralph Lauren, the rise of feminism, and running a family acting business that led to her son landing a memorable role as young Alvy Singer in Woody Allen’s Academy Award-winning movie “Annie Hall.”
“Women of any age,” Meyers says, “who’ve struggled to overcome the restrictions of their generation, or the disappointments of their upbringing will find The Tell to be a funny, touching and hopefully inspiring read.”
Meyers’ debut book will release on June 5, 2018.
Linda I. Meyers is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in New York City and Princeton, N.J., who has been published in professional and academic journals. Two chapters from her debut memoir were published in 2016 — “The Flowers,” a top-five finalist in Alligator Juniper’s annual contest in creative nonfiction, and “The Spring Line” in Post Road.
About the Book
“The Tell: A Memoir”
Linda I. Meyers | June 5, 2018 | She Writes Press
Print ISBN: 978-1- 63152-355- 7 | $16.95
Ebook ISBN: 978-1- 63152-356- 4 | $9.95
“A touching, angry, humorous, and engaging account of a turbulent life.” – Kirkus Indie Reviews
“With beautiful observations of human nature, The Tell serves as an appreciation of the complexity of family.”
– Foreword Clarion Reviews
“In this vivid and immensely enjoyable memoir, we encounter the lost world of Jewish Brooklyn, crazy parents, a crazy husband, and a protagonist/narrator who can’t help being a good girl. Woody Allen and Ralph Lauren make appearances: somehow it all fits.” — Philip Lopate, essayist and film critic
“The Tell is a compelling coming-of-age story told with grit, humor, and a fine sense of atmosphere. From growing up with a mobster father and an unstable mother, to waiting in a Catskill bungalow colony for a phone call from the future Ralph Lauren (ne’ Lifshitz), to becoming a psychoanalyst, Meyers covers a lot of ground in this vivid portrait of resilience.” — Mindy Greenstein, Ph.D. author of The House on Crash Corner and Lighter as We Go
“With cutting humor and an ear for dialogue, Linda I. Meyers mines the crevices of family secrets to disclose some glittering gems, as the narrator, a single mother of three, struggles to break free from a web of lies, guilt, and betrayal. A gripping read from a damn good writer.” —Mindy Lewis, author of Life Inside: A Memoir
An Interview with Linda I. Myers
Why did you decide to write your memoir, “The Tell,” as a collection of personal essays?
An essay was manageable. It allowed me to tell each story as a separate event. I think had I begun intending to write a book I would have been overwhelmed. I was encouraged to keep writing when two of the essays were accepted for publication. When I read Jo Ann Beard’s “Boys of my Youth,” I saw that there was precedence to use essays as the format and I kept on writing until the book was done.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m a psychoanalyst, and I believe I write like I work. I began with the trauma of my mother’s suicide. I then moved back in time to try and understand the “why” of it and then forward to understand its effect. But as is often the case in therapy, the writing revealed a deeper story—the story of my coming into my own. Hopefully when the therapy is done and the memoir is finished, the author and the reader come away with a narrative that helps them better understand themselves.
How did your mother’s suicide affect your life?
I was terrified that if I didn’t change my life I might come to the same tragic end. I was also searching for a way of giving meaning to her death. I convinced my husband to leave Brooklyn. Soon after we bought a house in the suburbs we got a divorce. I started undergraduate college and a successful family acting business. When I got my doctorate, I hung out a shingle and began to practice my profession. I’m not sure had she lived I would have had the courage to start a new life.
What was it like starting college at the age of 30 and caring for three children at the same time?
I went to school at night so there were many adults in my classes. I was very motivated to do well. Each day after the kids left for school I would take out my books and study until they came home. When I was exhausted I would think of my grandmother and how she took care of five kids and worked two jobs. I would also think about my kids and how I wanted them to have the opportunity to go to the college of their choice. They were the carrot on the stick that kept me going.
What was it like to have your children be actors?
It was exciting but also frightening. It was a big unknown, but there were two things I was sure of—I did not want to become a stage mother and I did not want them to lose their childhood. It was a balancing act between auditions and callbacks, soccer games and birthday parties. I also wanted to minimize the competition between them so I set it up as a family business. Their earnings were pooled together and when they came of age they each got one third.
What was the Jewish culture like in the Catskill Bungalow Colonies in 1940s and 1950s?
People, mostly Jewish immigrants living in the ghettos of Brooklyn and the Bronx, left the hot city and went to the mountains for the summer. Women and children would stay all week and their husbands would come up on weekends. I remember the women playing mahjong and the men playing pinochle. The more upscale colonies had casinos and Saturday night comedians, polishing their acts in the Borscht Belt would come and entertain. There were no grocery stores on the grounds—the husbands had the cars, so the women were dependent on the fishman, dairy man, butcher and the vegetable vendor. A different vendor came each day—a bell would herald their arrival—you had to stop what you were doing and run to get supplies. It wasn’t very restful but it was far better than their hot apartments in the city. My grandmother ran the concession at our bungalow colony. My summers with Grandma were the best.
Is it true that your first boyfriend became someone famous? Do you two still keep in touch?
My first love was Ralph Lifshitz, who told me that he was changing his name to Lauren and he was going to make a million dollars. I believed him. He had the kind of charisma and certainty that when he told me he was going to be famous and earn a million dollars, I didn’t doubt him for a minute. I ran into him three or four years after our summer romance. He was sitting on a bench in Monticello, NY. He introduced me to his fiance, Ricky. We haven’t been in touch, but his effect on me was indelible and in that regard he has been with me forever.
What led you to write this memoir now?
I wrote it for my grandchildren. I often wished my grandparents had written their memoirs. It would have been marvelous to have understood my history through their experience.
What’s next for you?
I have another book in mind. It, too, will be a memoir and if I’m able to write it well, a psychological thriller.
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