5 Star Review
by Michael Beas
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In "The Great Gimmelmans," Lee Matthew Goldberg takes readers on an engrossing and thrilling trip. The narrative tracks the Gimmelman family's evolution from a polite reform Jewish family to a band of bandits hiding over a million dollars' worth of pilfered cash in their recreational vehicle—all while under FBI and loan shark pursuit.
Aaron Gimmelman, the middle child, serves as the protagonist and our window into this bizarre environment. Each of the characters, from Barry, the risk-taking father of a stockbroker, to Judith, who treasures her collection of pricey hats, and the siblings with their individual passions, such as Steph's fixation on pop stars and Jenny's affection for a stuffed possum named Seymour, are vividly portrayed.
The tale begins with the family's financial collapse following the 1987 Crash. When they decide to rob a bank, the story takes an unexpected turn, and they start stealing from convenience stores. In contrast to their disjointed lives back home due to their hectic schedules, the Gimmelmans discover an uncommon sense of bonding and connection in these illegal adventures.
Through her storytelling, Goldberg masterfully combines humor, love, and an examination of religion and custom. The plot is further complicated by the twisted familial ties resulting from greed and desperation. The author takes readers on a crazy journey from Jersey to an Orthodox Jewish town in Florida and even up to California, all the while expertly capturing the flavor of the 1980s.
Goldberg's ability to skillfully blend humor and tragedy makes comparisons to Michael Chabon and the Coen Brothers appropriate. The story is gripping and full of surprising turns that will keep readers interested all the way to the very end. The book examines the effects of unquenchable desire as Barry's unrelenting quest for more puts the Gimmelmans' tenuous bond in jeopardy.
The family's emotional rollercoaster is reflected in the geographical adventure, which provides a vivid backdrop for the drama that is developing. As the Gimmelmans deal with the repercussions of their deeds, the walls of the RV close in on them both literally and figuratively.
To sum up, "The Great Gimmelmans" is a literary masterpiece that offers an engrossing story, endearing characters, and the ideal balance of melancholy and humor. The novel by Lee Matthew Goldberg is unique among modern fiction because of its examination of family dynamics, avarice, and the pursuit of atonement. This gripping and provocative story will keep readers who enjoy Michael Chabon and the Coen Brothers pleasantly delighted.
About the Author:
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of twelve novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR along with his five-book DESIRE CARD series. His YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is currently with actress Raegan Revord from Young Sheldon attached to develop his original written pilot. THE GREAT GIMMELMANS comes out in 2023. He is a finalist for an Anthony Award and nominated for the Prix du Polar. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, he’s been published in multiple languages and his writing has also appeared as a contributor in CrimeReads, Pipeline Artists, LitHub, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Mystery Tribune, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Maudlin House and others. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com
His favorite authors are classic writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, Emily Bronte, W. Somerset Maugham and Raymond Chandler. For modern authors, he's been influenced by Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, Denis Johnson, John Irving, and Paul Auster.