David Hirshberg

When you’re a kid, they don’t always tell you the truth.

My Mother’s Son is a literary novel written as the memoir of a radio raconteur that uses the inconceivable events of his family’s life and the world in which he lived as a foil to deal with major issues that affect Americans today – disease, war, politics, immigration and business. It has been purposefully set in earlier times so as to provide some distance from the current ‘talking heads’ climate that instantly categorizes and analyzes events from a narrow, partisan perspective.

"David Hirshberg has written an engrossing novel that belongs in the canon of great American Jewish literature. Filled with stories of concealed truths, shattering discoveries, and unconditional love, My Mother’s Son is a twenty-first century exploration of the formative American Jewish experiences of the twentieth century. It transports the reader to  that other time even as it speaks to the urgent concerns of today."

Dan Libenson, founder and president of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future and co-creator of the Judaism Unbound podcast.
"Sometimes it's the lies we grow up with — more than the truths — that define who we are and where we come from. That's the message of David Hirshberg's coming-of-age novel, MY MOTHER'S SON. Through the eyes of young Joel, we witness essential elements of the mid-twentieth century: the scourge of polio, the magic of baseball, the repercussions of war, and the development of modern Jewish-American culture. But above all, we come to understand why Joel is his mother's son — and how that phrase resonates for us all. A deceptively simple, profoundly memorable novel."

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, author of The Last Dreamer
"Only occasionally does a novel like this come along—one that sculpts a vivid, irresistible portrait of a life and times.  Evocative of the 1950's, with cinematic flashbacks and flash-forwards, it is clever, poignant and funny. Hirshberg allows the reader to eavesdrop on complicated 1950s family intimacies that had been clouded by years of denial, secrecy and self-preservation. What he exposes are the riches left behind, those that reveal the truth of the human condition. This is a book worth reading, probably more than once."

Mitch Markowitz, screenwriter of Good Morning, Vietnam
"Reading MY MOTHER'S SON is like opening up a time capsule and sifting among the treasures. 1952 Boston comes alive as David Hirshberg weaves the artifacts of that year into the fabric of his poignant narrative. This provocative novel is the colorful description of life as seen through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Joel, and at the same time, a telling and re-telling that allows adult Joel to process and decipher the truths and richness of all that transpires. I enjoyed it from beginning to end."

Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, author of Eden: A Novel
"MY MOTHER'S SON is a richly sprawling and singular Jewish-American saga.  It echoes with an unwashed Boston brogue and a heart that beats with a Holocaust past.  And it entertains with wit, humor and secrets both dark and luminously incandescent."

Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham and Second Hand Smoke
"MY MOTHER'S SON starts out as a story of a family's life in Jewish Boston and grows as big as a century. Fascism lurks. Polio carries off its prey. Only-in-Boston characters pop up. To wit: Murph Feldman, the Jew of Southie. Time rushes in only to roll back as the stories within stories reveal truths not only about one family and one city, but about America in the 1950s and, by extension, today. Hirshberg is a raconteur who feels no need to stop to get a sip of water."

Paul Goldberg, author of The Yid and 2017 Finalist — Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and 2016 Finalist - National Jewish Book Award Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction

Credit: Alison Sheehy

David Hirshberg is the pseudonym for an entrepreneur who prefers to keep his business activities separate from his writing endeavors. As an author, he adopted the first name of his father-in-law and the last name of his maternal grandfather, as a tribute to their impact on his life.

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My Mother’s Son has received quite a number of accolades, including:

  • Gold Medal, 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards
  • Winner, Best Regional Fiction, 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards.
  • Booklist, starred review "Readers will find connections here to Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) and to Saul Bellow’s classic The Adventures of Augie March (1953)."
  • Library Journal, starred review "This amazing mosaic of fact and fiction will hold readers in its grip from the first to last page."
  • FreshFiction.com "It’s easy to see why My Mother’s Son by David Hirshberg should become a classic like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer…"
  • Federation Star, L'Chayim, and The Jewish News "This is one beautiful book. It portrays a pivotal period in U.S. history flavored by the scrambling lives of European immigrants, their acculturated children, and their more fully Americanized grandchildren."