MANAGING BUBBIE is author Russell Lazega’s tribute to his grandmother, Lea, who fled Europe during World War II. Conversations between Lea and her grandson, as well as other family members, are inserted between stories of escape from war-torn Europe, planting this memoir firmly in two distinct worlds. The audio edition is narrated by the author and J.J. Crowne, with additional readings by a cast of award-winning actors, including Golden Globe and Tony winner, Linda Lavin, Tony and Emmy nominated actor Lainie Kazan, Gavin McLeod (of The Love Boat) and Renee Taylor (of The Nanny).
There are some stories that are enhanced by telling via the spoken word. Having originally published the written book in 2015 (it was Lea who urged her grandson to write this moving narrative about her life, certain their collaboration would make them rich), the audio version delivers a further affectionate and humorous rendition, by Lazega, of his beloved Bubbie. Alternating chapters, narrated by Crowne, remember young Lea, the survivor–a mother of three who escaped World War II Europe. It is quite startling to listen to Lea’s heartbreaking tale of escaping Hitler, only to be jarred back to her later life in Miami Beach and the hilarious exchanges between her and her family. The back and forth between Lea, who braved continuous cold and fear of capture, and Bubbie, who wants to sue Ed McMahon for falsely making her believe she had won a million dollars, gives readers the true scope of Lea’s life– a woman larger than life and unbroken by her past. Though Lea’s trials were far more severe than most, the similarities of attitude (“I may be old, but don’t tell me what to do!”) will make this book relatable and endearing to grandchildren and Bubbies everywhere.
It is no small feat to include humor in a book that deals with the trials of a young Jewish woman who escaped the Nazi’s, but Russel Lazega’s MANAGING BUBBIE manages to do so, proving that life is an inevitable combination of tragedy and comedy. The production of the audio book is a treat with voices that will resonate with listeners.
~Kat Kennedy for Indie Reader