Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson: A Review

In the not too distant future, after the fall of Israel, the Jacobson family is living in a time of intense antisemitism.  Jacob lives in Berlin with his partner and teaches English to displaced Israeli refugees, Mo is a washed-up actor who now has a reality show staring his children and Edith is a professor of Ethics that is facing questions about the ethics of her actions with a student.  The three siblings have come together to spend what is likely the last Passover with their mother and with a plan to kill their emotionally abusive father after learning that their mother is dying.

Levinson has written the most honest account of a dysfunctional family that I have read in a long time.  The satire is perfect but there isn't so much humor that it allows the reader to gloss over the true drama of a family in crisis or the horrors of antisemitism and racism.  There were some excellent one-liners, though; "You stupid motherf***er.  You got raspberry in my eye."

The book is told with each sibling in mind at a time.  The characters are really interesting.  I keep trying to figure out if the family patriarch, Julian Jacobson, has indeed changed from his bullying ways and is being kinder to his wife, Roz, or is playing a role.  Mo, Jacob and Edith say that they want to kill Julian for the benefit of their mother but they all seem to remember more unkind things that Julian did to them as children, as opposed to cruelties toward their mother.  They are also preoccupied with the money their mother has that will be controlled by their father if she passes before he does.  The siblings simultaneously harangue one another, as siblings will do, while also coming together in their hatred for their father.

The book read a little slowly for me but it was interesting.  It seemed to become more interesting as the story started to unfold.  Overall, I really liked this book.  It was very different from any other book I have read.  This would be a great book for someone who enjoys humor and satire.  Those who enjoy fiction by Maria Semple or Jen Lancaster will be sure to love this book.

My rating:
★★★★☆

Reviews of books like this one:
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
What To Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball

This book is currently available and can be purchased from major booksellers.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.  Visit the publisher, Penguin Random House, for booksellers and information about the book.

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