Memories of an Uncommon Jewish Girlhood
by Marlene Rosenfield
A father's bipolar illness -- as seen through the eyes of a young girl determined to bring back her regular Daddy (as opposed to her Up or Down Daddy) -- will interest anyone who has ever loved an ill family member. A 13-year-old narrator recreates all three daddies, particularly Marlene's Up Daddy, from memories she calls on as a young girl of 4 through her early 20s.
At age 13, after she begins seventh grade in Worcester, Massachusetts, after a hasty move from Boston, she begins her most important study: Down Daddy vs. Up Daddy. A host of close family members and friends fill in the blanks on who her father is and is not.
Parallel to Marlene's story is that of the Boston Red Sox and their own manic-depressive history. Famed centerfielder Jimmy Piersall takes center stage as Marlene's crazy neighbor, whose own ups and downs put her Daddy's into greater relief.
This is the story of redemption: Marlene becomes a writer because "it is the only way I know to keep a voice alive."
Marlene Rosenfield is the author of a poetry chapbook, Making Bubbeh's Blintzes, and a host of short stories including "Yiddish Lessons," first-place winner of the Women Fiction Writers of Central Massachusettts. Marlene holds an M.A. in writing. Her advanced studies include the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Bennington Writers' Workshop, and the New York State Writers Institute. Up Daddy Down Daddy is her first book, winner of the People of the Book Award from the Maimonides Hebrew Day School of the Capital District.
"Rosenfield is not sprinter but rather a long-distance runner."
-- Jay McInerny, author of Bright Lights, Big City