Plot/Idea: Haveson's Laugh Cry Rewind is a moving chronicle of a Houston family's joys and struggles with illness and loss. The author vividly brings her extended family members to life while injecting humor and poignancy throughout her storytelling.
Prose: Haveson is a highly capable writer. Her prose style is warm, inviting, and gently humorous, even amidst tremendous emotional pain and trauma. The book features excellent pacing and a sound balance between informative sections, dialogue, and personal reflections on the unfolding circumstances.
Originality: Every family's story is unique, but not all memoirs are distinctive. Haveson's warm and endearing writing style, paired with a keen eye for detail, allow this work to shine.
Character/Execution: Haveson excels at characterization. While the author herself emerges clearly, family members are equally well rendered through descriptions, charming anecdotes, and dialogue.
Date Submitted: January 25, 2023
Laugh Cry Rewind could easily fall into pity memoir territory, but the often funny, irreverent tone puts it onto another level. While the central most devastating event in Judy's life might have been losing her sister, Celia's life dominates the page more than her death. This isn't the story of a person fixed on one terrible moment, but of a person whose moments, both bad and good, all add up to an incredible life.
On one hand, it seems remarkable that Judy can live such a courageous and rich life after all she has endured; on the other, it seems impossible that she would do anything else. Rather than falling into grief, Judy aims to make hers a life Celia could be proud of.
I haven't read a memoir that explores existence in quite the same way as this one. It leans much more toward being uplifting than miserable. The prose in Laugh Cry Rewind is richly detailed. Judy's memory must be amazing because there are times the details are so precise and authentic that the writing transports you completely into the scene. Laugh Cry Rewind is a poignant portrait of a life well lived.
Laugh Cry Rewind is Author Judy Haveson's beautifully written memoir that will truly make its readers laugh, cry, and possibly rewind back to their own childhoods. The first thing I noticed about this book was how Judy spoke to her readers. I felt as if she was my new best friend, and we were out for coffee, trading stories about our lives. One subject flowing freely to the next where one minute we would be tearing up over a very sad life occurrence and within a few minutes saying, "but remember when..." and then coming up with some outrageous story. I absolutely could not put this book down once I started reading it. In our lives, we have ups and downs. Judy was able to do a wonderful job of chronicling her own life in Laugh Cry Rewind. I recommend this book to any and all readers who love great memoirs.
With a sublime balance of heartbreak and humor, Judy Haveson shares her life story in Laugh Cry Rewind. Growing up in a loving Jewish family could not protect Haveson's childhood from unthinkable traumas, including a random act of violence and the death of her adored sister, Celia. Her sister's calm and wisdom stayed alive in Haveson's memory as she navigated college, careers, dating, marriage and miscarriages, the deaths of beloved family members, and celebrated the birth of her son. Reading more like an autobiography with its strict chronology, Laugh Cry Rewind is intimate and mesmerizing thanks to Haveson's conversational style and wit; her struggles and triumphs are palpable, and even her ordinary stories dazzle.