The Fortune Teller's Kiss

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University of Nebraska Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 218 pages
15 Reviews
There was always the incantation: "Whoever wishes you harm, may harm come to them!" And just in case that didn't work, there were garlic and cloves to repel the Evil Eye--or, better yet, the dried foreskin from a baby boy's circumcision, ground to a fine powder. But whatever precautions Brenda Serotte was subjected to, they were not enough. Shortly before her eighth birthday, in the fall of 1954, she came down with polio--painfully singled out in a world already marked by differences. Her bout with the dreaded disease is at the heart of this poignant and heartbreakingly hilarious memoir of growing up a Sephardic Jew among Ashkenazi neighbors in the Bronx. This was a world of belly dancers and fortune tellers, shelter drills and vast quantities of Mediterranean food; a world of staunchly joined and endlessly contrary aunts and uncles, all drawn here in loving, merciless detail. The Fortune Teller's Kiss is a heartfelt tribute to a disappearing culture and a paean to the author's truly quirky clan, especially her beloved champion, her father. It is also a deft and intimate cultural history of the Bronx fifty years ago and of its middle-class inhabitants, their attitudes toward contagious illness, womanly beauty, poverty, and belonging. Brenda Serotte is a poet and an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications, such as Atlanta Review, Kit-Kat Review, Quarter after Eight: A Journal of Prose and Commentary, and Fourth Genre, from which her chapter "Contagious" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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Review: The Fortune Teller's Kiss

User Review  - Sara Cat - Goodreads

It's a memoir, not a novel, and feels like it. An interesting look at being in the polio epidemics in NYC, which is more what the book is about than the cultural piece. Writing is adequate to at times very good, especially toward the end. I'd imagine there is a sequel coming. Read full review

Review: The Fortune Teller's Kiss

User Review  - Ellen Pilch - Goodreads

This book was not only a great memoir, but also very educational. The author is a Sephardic Jew and explained a lot of her culture. All the books I have read about Jewish people have been about ... Read full review

Contents

Fortuna
29
Lost
49
Contagious
63
Copyright

4 other sections not shown

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About the author (2006)

Brenda Serotte is a poet and an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications, such as Atlanta Review, Kit-Kat Review, Quarter after Eight: A Journal of Prose and Commentary, and Fourth Genre, from which her chapter “Contagious” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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