A Presentation of the book A Lucky Life

By Karla Ortiz

This past Wednesday, January 24th, the book A Lucky Life, a biography of the writer Minerva Heller Neiditz, was presented. The writer, scheduled to be at the event, had to cancel unexpectedly due to death of her brother-in-law, Robert Neiditz.

A Lucky Life is Neiditz’s seventh book, full of humor and pathos. It talks about the many stages of Minerva’s life: as a student who graduated from Smith College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts and with a Master of Arts from Radcliffe College in 1955; as the wife of David Neiditz, who was a member of the Connecticut state legislature; as the mother of two sons; as the candidate for a doctoral degree whose dissertation was titled Dismissal: separation and loss in Shakespeare’s later works and who ended up in teaching positions at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut; as president of her own company, The Writing Consultants; as the Director of the Writing Institute at the University of Connecticut; and as the author of nonfiction books, including Business Writing is Best.

She retired from academic work in 1998 but continued publishing. She published Angels Tongues and Lobster Tales, a second volume of poetry, and, in 2004, a popular nonfiction book, Romance after the 1960s: What Men Believe They Want. At 85, she shows no signs of withdrawal.

Despite the lack of Minerva’s presence, many of her friends and new friends, who already knew or knew a little about Minerva’s history, attended to read small chapters about her childhood, her first love, her first jobs, and the suffering of losing a child.

This book has been well critiqued by many readers. Ellen Watson, director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, wrote: “She is a born storyteller. A Lucky Life is a brief, wonderfully detailed book, full of humor and excitement. There is no way to read these memories without admiring their cleverness, courage, and endurance, along with their attractive prose.”

 

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