An American Family
March 25, 2012
provided by MediaMuscle
The sprawling narrative of five siblings, born in the 1940′s, beginning on the day John Kennedy was shot and ending on 9/11. Between these two iconic dates, we follow the fortunes, love affairs, marriages, divorces, successes and failures of the Perls, an immigrant Polish-Jewish family, from the Lower East Side of New York, to Long Island and beyond.
The oldest, Jackie — a charming, womanizing attorney — drifts into politics with help from the Nassau County mob. His younger brother, Michael, a gambler and entrepreneur, makes and loses fortunes riding the ebb and flow of high-risk business decisions. Their sister, Elaine, marries young and raises two children before realizing that she wants more from life than being merely a wife and mother and embarking on a new life in her forties. Their sensitive and brilliant half-brother, Stephen, deals with the growing consciousness that he is gay in an era that was not gay friendly. Stephen goes to Vietnam as a medic, comes home, becomes a writer, and survives the AIDS epidemic of the eighties. The baby of the family, Bobbie, high-strung and rebellious, gets pregnant at Woodstock, moves to San Francisco as a single mother during the “Summer of Love,” then winds up in Los Angeles as a highly-successful record producer.
In a larger sense this book is not merely the story of one family, but the story of most immigrant families – Jewish, Italian, Irish, African-American – as they enter the melting pot and emerge as a new generation, as well as the story of the tumultuous years of the second half of the twentieth century.
About The Author:
Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are “Cagney and Lacey,” for which he won an Emmy award; “Monte Carlo,” in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental “Danielle Steel’s Fine Things,” and the underrated and hurried “The Women of Windsor,” the most sordid, and thankfully last, miniseries about the British Royal Family.
He began writing novels after being declared “marginally unemployable” in the entertainment business by his agent. In 1991 Lefcourt published “The Deal”–an act of supreme hubris that effectively bit the hand that fed him and produced, in that wonderfully inverse and masochistic logic of Hollywood, a fresh demand for his screenwriting services. It remains a cult favorite in Hollywood and was one of the ten books that the late John Gotti reportedly ordered from jail.
Subsequently he has divided his time between screenplays and novels, publishing “The Dreyfus Affair” in 1992, his darkly comic look at homophobia in baseball as a historical analog to anti-Semitism in fin de siecle France, whose film rights The Walt Disney Company has optioned twice and let lapse twice in paroxysms of anxiety about what it says about the national pastime and, by extension, Disneyland.
In 1994, he published “Di And I,” a heavily fictionalized version of his love affair with the late Princess of Wales. Princess Diana’s own step-godmother, the late Barbara Cartland, herself no slouch when it came to publishing torrid books, declared the book “ghastly and unnecessary,” which pushed the British edition briefly onto the bestseller lists. “Di And I” was optioned by Fine Line Pictures and was abandoned after Diana’s untimely death.
“Abbreviating Ernie,” his fourth novel, was inspired by his brush with notoriety after the appearance of “Di And I.” At the time he was harassed by the British tabloids and spent seven excruciating minutes on “Entertainment Tonight.” He was subsequently and fittingly bumped out of People Magazine by O.J. Simpson’s white Bronco media event of June, 1994.
Lefcourt’s research on a movie about the 1995 Bob Packwood scandal was the germ for his fifth novel, “The Woody.” He saw the former senator’s battle with the Senate Ethics Committee as evidence of the confusion in America regarding appropriate sexual behavior for politicians. Packwood became a sacrificial lamb by getting his dick caught in the buzzsaw of the zeitgeist.
His subsequent book, “Eleven Karens”–an erratically erotic fictional memoir of his love affairs with eleven women, all of whom happened to be named Karen, was published in 2003. He is still defending himself in a number of law suits brought by several of the apparently insufficiently fictionalized Karens.
He followed that with “The Manhattan Beach Project,” a nominal sequel to The Deal, in that it follows the adventures of that book’s hero, the intrepid Charlie Berns, who finds himself broke and attending meetings of the Brentwood chapter of Debtors Anonymous. Charlie manages to sell a reality TV show about the daily life of a warlord in Uzbekistan (“The Sopranos” meets “The Osbournes”) to a secret division of ABC, named, appropriately, ABCD, charged with developing extreme reality TV series from a clandestine skunkworks in Manhattan Beach.
His latest book is entitled “An American Family,” and it tells the story of an immigrant Jewish-American family on Long Island, beginning on the day John Kennedy was shot and ending the day before 9/11. This multi-generational saga, told from the point of view of five siblings born in the 1940′s, traces the Pearl family’s odyssey into the melting pot of twentieth century America.
He continues to dabble in film and television. He was the writer/creator of the Showtime TV series, “Beggars & Choosers,” a darkly comic send-up of the television business. More recently, he spent a season in the writers’ room of “Desperate Housewives,” where he helped concoct some of the Byzantine plot lines of that infamous dark suburban soap opera.
I’m pleased to announce that Reviews By Molly is part of the Scavenger Hunt on Peter’s tour! Please sit back and enjoy this sneak peek into Peter’s work…
Having to get up at the crack of dawn so that her father could drive her to school made Bobbie tired all day long.. She yawned her way through first-period Geometry, which, even when she wasn’t tired, she hated. What was the point of spending time proving stuff you already knew?
Now when the weather was getting colder, she wished she was in California, surfing with the Beach Boys. Just get on a Greyhound and go across country and knock on Brian Wilson’s door and say, “Hi. I’m Bobbie Perl. From Long Island.”
There was a boy in her home room who looked a little like Brian Wilson—curly blond hair and a goofy smile.
Danny Prince. Definitely not Jewish. Her father would have a conniption if she went out with him. He’d have a conniption if she went out with anybody.
Next sneak peek available at: http://www.reviewedbymom.blogspot.com/