By Diana Lerner
Published by Gvanim, Tel Aviv. 2011. 95 pp. NIS 65.
Diana Lerner, journalist and long-time Tel Aviv resident has produced another book- Ageless in Tel Aviv. It's very much the mixture as before – anecdotes, personal recollections, homespun philosophy and really good tips on how not to show your age, at which she is an expert.
Anyone over a certain age will find her suggestions in this department really helpful. For example: "never tap your head apologetically implying the noodle isn't functioning as well as it once did" or the one I particularly liked: "if you start limping because of arthritis, say you sprained your ankle doing aerobics." Not many women could carry that off but I've no doubt she could.
Diana never wastes a word of unused copy as we at ESRA know, and some of the stories have a certain familiar edge to them. But there is also plenty of new material and I really enjoyed her down-to-earth descriptions of the Tel Aviv scene of which she has been a part for over 60 of her 90 years. She introduces us to her close family of sisters and nieces, describes in colorful detail some of the eccentrics she has known over the years and devotes a chapter to her life-partner, David, who has taught generations of drummers, as well as authored seven academic books on economics. We discover that he supported himself through college in Florida by playing piano at a bar in exchange for all the beer he could drink until the proprietor realized that it was more economical to pay him a salary.
There is a charmingly self-deprecating tone about some of the anecdotes but she leaves you in no doubt that she also enjoys a healthy amount of self-confidence and a sparkling sense of humor which stands her in good stead, even at times when the inevitable health issues arise.
Never one to pull punches, Diana manages to settle a few scores in this new book – she admitted to me that this was one of her reasons for publishing it - and many of her old friends and acquaintances must feel somewhat uncomfortable if they recognize themselves as the subjects of her acerbic pen. I suppose when you get to 90 you can be completely honest about your feelings for people.
Diana is never boring and some of her insights into life in Israel are very revealing. Like everything she writes, this too is a fun read.
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