Many memoirs seem to be about overcoming a dysfunctional past and escaping from the horrors of bad parenting but what stands out in the witty and well-written "Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family" by Ezekiel Emanuel (Random House; $27) is how much love, structure and encouragement the siblings received even though both their father, an imminent Chicago pediatrician and their mother, an activist in the Civil Rights movement, were super busy.
But there was always time for Rahm, Ari and Ezekiel Emanuel and these brothers, feisty, rambunctious, precocious and brilliant, went on to establish solid careers and happy families themselves. Rahm Emanuel is the mayor of Chicago, Zeke, oncologist, a bioethicist, and a national expert on health care policy who advised President Obama on the Affordable Health Care Act and Ari, well for anyone who’s ever watched the hit TV series Entourage knows, is the prototype for the super shark Hollywood agent.
Filled with wonderful anecdotes – toddler Rahm was so non-verbal that his parents took him for an evaluation, Marsha Emanuel periodically spent nights in jail – on purpose – as she was involved in protests in support of integration and jail time meant more media attention and that Grandma Emanuel, who lived with the family, was the stereotype of Jewish mother jokes, refusing to speak English though she was conversant in many other languages and always criticizing her daughter-in-law while idolizing her doctor son.
It almost makes you believe that if the brothers Emanuel had not gone on to be super successful, their family life would have made a wonderful sit-com.
If you go:
What: Ezekiel Emanuel has two Chicago events
Thursday, April 4: 7pm, talk, Q&A and book signing, Book Stall Event at The Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka, IL 847-446-8880.
Friday, April 5: 11:30am book signing; noon lunch and presentation at Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL. 847-446-8880.