Suberman, Stella 1922–

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Suberman, Stella 1922–

PERSONAL: Born February 7, 1922, in Union City, TN; daughter of Morris Aaron (a merchant) and Rebecca (a homemaker; maiden name, Burstein) Kaufman; married Jack Suberman (a professor of English literature), January 31, 1942; children: Rick Ian. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Attended University of Miami, Coral Gables, and Florida State College for Women. Politics: Democrat.

ADDRESSES: Home—700 NE 5th Ave., Boca Raton, FL 33432. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, public information officer, 1960–66; University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, worked at Lowe Art Gallery, 1968–70.

WRITINGS:

The Jew Store (memoir), Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 1998.

When It Was Our War: A Soldier's Wife on the Home Front (memoir), Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2003.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A memoir of World War II veterans and the GI Bill.

SIDELIGHTS: Stella Suberman told CA: "I wrote my first memoir, The Jew Store, because I wanted to tell a story that had never been told in a personal way. The story would recall the Jewish immigration experience in the American South, especially as it related to 'Jew stores,' which is what the locals called those modest dry goods stores operated by Jewish immigrants. These stores began to be seen in the late nineteenth century, but it was the 1920s and 1930s that were their golden years, the time when almost every southern town had one. Using my own family for the narrative thrust, I wanted to tell how these unworldly Jewish immigrants fresh from the shtetls of eastern Europe struggled to come to terms with equally unworldly rural southerners, many of whom had never before seen a Jew.

"I thought my next memoir, When It Was Our War: A Soldier's Wife on the Home Front, was a story that needed to be told as well. It was the story of World War II told from my point of view—that of a young woman who followed her Air Corps husband from air base to air base, and then, when he was sent overseas for combat, led the home-front life. I thought it was especially important to recall that we once had a wartime home front, since we currently have almost none. I wanted furthermore to tell the story through the eyes of a member of an ethnic minority to enable me to depart from the usual glowing accounts of wartime America and to give a more realistic picture. As a Jewish wife, I perceived the scene somewhat differently from the mainstream soldier's wife, and what I saw was truly the best and the worst of America.

"I am influenced by any writer whom I can respect for his or her writing skills and for his or her implacable search for the truth, with all sentiment cast aside.

"My writing process is to stay in bed after I awake in the morning until I have my plans for where my writing is going that day. When those plans are more or less acceptable, I get up, have breakfast, leave the dishes in the sink (and the bed unmade), and rush to my computer keyboard, upon which I plunk away until early afternoon. With this process I never have writer's block because, by the time I get out of bed, my next pages are out there waiting for me, and I can't wait to see them on the screen."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2003, Roland Green, review of When It Was Our War: A Soldier's Wife on the Home Front, p. 51.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2003, review of When It Was Our War, p. 853.

Library Journal, September 1, 2003, Elizabeth Morris, review of When It Was Our War, p. 178.

School Library Journal, May, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of When It Was Our War, p. 178.