It’s very rare after reading a book that a reviewer would like to write a review that’s just as many pages as the book, itself. This is one of those very few cases when the book was so thought-provoking, fun, meaningful, educational, and historical, that I want to put everything into this review so that readers won’t miss one word of the supremely fantastic writing that was done here. Of course, then I have to remind myself that there are wonderful places like Amazon out there for readers to “dial up” immediately and acquire every unforgettable word for themselves. And, trust me, that is exactly what you should do for this wonderful title.
Mr. Tiber is a bestselling author already with his fantastic memoir, Taking Woodstock, which was turned into a motion picture by the incomparable Ang Lee. With this memoir, Elliot Tiber takes us back to his childhood in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. When he was eight-years-old, Elliot remembers sitting in the local theatre on “Plate Night” and staring up at the screen listening to the remarkable Judy Garland preach to him about going “Over the Rainbow.” This was the first time in Elliot’s life that he believed there was a “somewhere” out there in the world for him and, with enough work and belief, he could eventually find his very own Oz.
One of the more difficult things he ran up against was his family; his mother was an immigrant from Russia who fled to America for a better life; his father raced from Austria before WWI, for the same. When Mom and Dad met in Brooklyn, they began to live that American dream – purchasing a home and running a housewares business. Unfortunately, their arguments were extremely difficult on Elliot and his sisters. The one upside for Elliott that, perhaps, was the first step in his creative career, was when he “lost” himself one day and painted a mural on his mother’s nice, clean walls. She was beyond upset, but when her lady friends came over and raved about the beautiful painting and wanted to pay Elliot to do the same in their houses, Mom turned the other cheek and was very proud that her son could bring some money into the household.
Soon Elliot turned eighteen and ran like heck to Manhattan, leaving his angry family behind, calling it Operation Run Like Hell. Readers are then taken into the world of Greenwich Village in the 1950’s where Elliott is surrounded by names such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Washington Square Park is close by where art shows are numerous, and it feels to Elliot as if he’s found his own Emerald City…almost.
Through the years, romances, friendships, jobs, parties – everything grows larger and larger as Elliot takes one bite out of life after another. From his first job in a department store, where he holds the new invention called a staple gun and decorates all he can, to a lavish birthday party aboard a Hudson River dayliner that he was hired, where he once again heard the fantastic voice of Judy Garland, but this time real and in person, every chapter is filled with amazing places and truly unforgettable people.
Quill says: The details that are offered in this book make the scenes literally come alive inside the reader’s mind. The power that Judy Garland had over his life is incredible, and it’s not a reach to say that this man’s “voice” has a power all its’ own. His words most definitely can reach out to others who need a friend to convince them that they, too, have an Emerald City to shoot for. Read every book that this man has graciously given to the masses and not only learn but, enjoy, the life lessons that Mr. Elliot Tiber can teach.