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Last Summer at the Golden Hotel por Elyssa…
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Last Summer at the Golden Hotel (original 2021; edición 2021)

por Elyssa Friedland (Autor)

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1087201,745 (3.78)2
Miembro:bezap
Título:Last Summer at the Golden Hotel
Autores:Elyssa Friedland (Autor)
Info:Berkley (2021), 384 pages
Colecciones:Tu biblioteca
Valoración:***
Etiquetas:Catskills, “the mountains”, vacation, bungalow colonies

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Last Summer at the Golden Hotel por Elyssa Friedland (2021)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
The Last Summer of the Golden Hotel, Elyssa Friedland, author, Julia Whelan, narrator
This book review will also expose my own personal philosophy on life because it made me not only nostalgic for the past, but disappointed with the direction of the future. The Goldmans and the Weingolds are equal partners in the Golden Hotel, although the men are closer to each other than their wives. As we watch their lives unfold and the years pass, we witness a view of the real world and how it has changed, moving forward and backward, sometimes making progress and sometimes taking a few steps into history on its journey of more than 6 past decades, while also propelling the characters into the future.
For people of a certain background, this book will spark memories and warm feelings. If the reader has not experienced the Catskill environment with its hotels, its Red Apple Rest on the way, its glamorizing of food and entertainment, of friendship and relaxation, that reader might not identify with the story. This book will also make the reader question whether or not society has advanced since the demise of the Borscht Belt, popularized by the movie “Dirty Dancing”.
For me, reading it was a walk down memory lane, since so many happy, memorable moments still remain in my thoughts. We went to the Catskills every summer. It was the most joyous place to be. The atmosphere was surreal. Dreams were fulfilled. Romance and marriages were part and parcel of the experience for the younger generation. It was a fantasyland for those of us lucky enough to experience it. I remember getting money to buy treats for the road trip, treats not ordinarily permitted. I remember stopping at Dubrows on the lower east side of New York City, for breakfast, and then lunch at the Red Apple Rest. I remember the cars stranded on the side of the road, unable to climb the hilly road in the extraordinary traffic, without overheating. In my memory the biggest Jewish exodus from the cities took place the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August. I can still remember the smell of fresh butter as I entered the dining room when I went to breakfast every morning, I vividly recall the march of the masses toward the dining room for lunch and dinner, the Saturday menu which was my least favorite because the hotel was kosher and the food had to be prepared in advance or left on a stove that remained lit through the Sabbath, the swimming pool, the pinball machines, the bellhops and the waiters that all the single girls eyed, hoping to snare the one that was the pre-med student, the shuffleboard, the family gatherings as our relatives joined us, our shock as we watched them consume huge amounts of food offered without limit.
In the Catskill hotels, when I grew up, every need was catered to by a staff of young, college students earning money for their education. I even dated someone one grandfather owned a Catskill hotel. It was a different time, a much simpler time. We had no cell phones, no computers, no social media. Today is so different from the past, and also from the time the book comes to a close, in the supposed future, in 2031. Today no one wants to pay for their own education. The employees at these hotels were more responsible young adults who never expected anyone to pay for their needs. Guest’s families worked really hard to provide the few days or weeks of respite in a bungalow or a hotel room. People came from modest means to luxurious means, and the guests were mostly Jewish. It was a place Jews could go without fear of antisemitism. It was a place they were unconditionally accepted. It was a place where young people met and married. Bars and cattle calls did not exist as an option for males and female coupling. It was a different world, with far different standards. Yes, there were the Friendly Women like the Bungalow Bunnies, and dance instructors who took advantage of the young teenage star-struck girls, like my own, duped dear friend, but it was a simpler world, not preoccupied or obsessed with destroying anyone that disagrees with you, not promoting schadenfreude. Certainly, some broke the rules, but most rules were followed, and most guests respected each other and their space.
I still remember those days with real fondness. After I married, we often went for weekends. We took our parents as our guests when we became more affluent and even sent them on their own vacations without us. It was the go-to place for fun, food, love and friendship. I remember so many of the hotels, and went to them all: the Nevele, the Raleigh, the Heiden, the Commodore, Schenk’s Paramount, the Concord, Grossingers, Kutschers, the Pines. They are now part of a time gone by.
We have come a long way in this country, but reading this book, which is light and humorous as well as dark and serious as the world players created their own version of nirvana, it reminded me of how much society has lost in the last 6 plus decades even as it gained much with regard to technology. We pretend to have more tolerance today, but in fact, we seem to have far less. We tolerate no disagreements. We forgive few errors of judgment, even when made in a time they were not even considered errors. We put ourselves in the position of judge and jury and justify our unkind and selfish behavior even when we hurt the innocent to give ourselves fifteen minutes of fame or a virtue signaling moment. We have become very greedy and unwilling to observe or judge our own behavior, while we constantly point fingers at others.
The erosion of that life has brought America to the doctors who run pill mills, to greed and to the corruption of social media forums that shut out people they disagree with, to influencers who can’t wait to negatively influence others because that is how they get their followers, to the debacle of today with leaders so consumed with vengeance that they may bring America to its knees with foolish decisions and constant rules to enrage those with whom they disagree, in their quest for absolute power. There is no compromise for many today, which is something that the book explores and promotes beautifully, as it explores its value with regard to creativity, differences and second chances. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Aug 20, 2021 |
I am clearly the intended audience for this -- a middle aged Jewish woman actually old enough to have spent time in the borscht belt. The Nevele (sp?), Browns and Grossinger's hosted a young Bonnie G. When I was 7 I killed in the Nevele production of Gypsy. I guess you don't have to be Jewish to read it, but there are at least half a dozen gefilte fish jokes, and I don't think those will bowl them over in Boise or kill 'em in Killeen. The story was predictable, the characters are caricatures, the book fetishized mothers and motherhood (especially overbearing mothering) in an uncomfortable way, the fatphobia is rampant, and the family dynamics are wildly oversimplified. I listened to this and Julia Whelen's narration kept me in through the end, but I don't know I would have finished the text version. ( )
  Narshkite | Aug 16, 2021 |
Thanks to the Book Club Cookbook program and Berkley/Random House for an advance reader copy. All comments and opinions are my own.

One hotel in the Catskills, two families, three generations, four secrets and a five star review! Plus scandals and memories from an earlier era. This started out a little slow, but that was just because there were various plot lines involving an ensemble cast of characters that needed to be explained. But I'm glad I stayed with it because once everything was set up, "hilarity ensued" and the plot cleverly connected the families' past with their present. The variety of relationships of these dysfunctional families was somewhat predictable but that was part of the novel's charm. How they solve the dilemma of whether to sell or save their beloved, once glamourous, now decrepit resort hotel makes this a light-hearted, humorous, and poignant story. I highly recommend this engaging novel. ( )
  PhyllisReads | Jul 30, 2021 |
Looking for the perfect beach read? Here is the Good Morning America Buzz Pick with more great recommendations from The Skim, Bustle, and Pop Sugar. In the heydays of the Catskills, a family reunion for the ages convenes for the summer at The Golden Hotel. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families – best friends and business partners – have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. Friedland captures the magic of a bygone era with a fast paced, hilarious, and nostalgia filled story.
  HandelmanLibraryTINR | Jun 26, 2021 |
Two large Jewish families get together to spend the summer in the Catskills. Their family has jointly owned and operated The Golden Hotel for generations but that might soon change. The hotel has been losing money for decades. It's rundown, all it's competitors have long since closed down and and they haven't had a full reservation list in over 10 years. There is a casino interested in tearing down the property and using the land - but what kind of legacy would that leave? three generations of two families must put their differences aside and figure out if they want to try and pour money into the resort or take the cash. Hilarious and over the top. I loved all the characters; they were messy and complicated, but love their family and they love their rundown getaway. Definitely for fans of Dirty Dancing and unconventional family drama. ( )
  ecataldi | May 18, 2021 |
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"It's not the changes so much this time. It's that it all seems to be ending. You think kids want to come with their parents and take foxtrot lessons? Trips to Europe, that's what kids want. Twenty-two countries in three days. It feels like it's all slipping away."
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As was tradition, Louise Goldman took the stage after the appetizer course was served at the final banquet dinner of the summer at the Golden Hotel.
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