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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fortune in My Eyes: A Memoir of Broadway Glamour, Social Justice, and Political Passion

Just the title of David Rothenberg's memoir, Fortune in My Eyes: A Memoir of Broadway Glamour, Social Justice, and Political Passion had me hooked. It's everything I love wrapped into one book of goodness!

David Rothenberg grew up in New Jersey, got involved in the Civil Rights movement in college, became a successful Broadway press rep and Off-Broadway producer in his 20's, and came out of the closet in his 40's. After producing the 13-month run of Fortune and Men's Eyes, Rothenberg became determined to make a difference in the lives of men recently released from prison and to have an impact on prison reform. His story is arguably a sweeping epic of a life well-lived and a man well-loved.

This memoir was a great read. Rothenberg writes the way he would talk to me if we were sitting at a local bar and he was telling me his story. I was absolutely fascinated by his move to create the Fortune Society and I found his call to fight for social justice to be quite moving. In my experience, few people would take the leap from the glitz and glamour of his theatre life (he worked intimately with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor during the run of Hamlet on Broadway) to working for pennies, believing whole-heartedly in the difference he was making for hundreds of men and women just out of prison with nowhere to go, nowhere to sleep, and no money for food.

I have so much respect for this man who took a leap of faith and became an outspoken critic of our penal system while also serving others hands-on. He believes in the goodness of people and he practices what he preaches. His story integrates accepting others and learning to accept himself. This book was eye-opening as well as emotionally satisfying, and I am glad I took the time to pick it up.

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