Reinhardt, Dana 1971-
Reinhardt, Dana 1971-
Born March 11, 1971, in Los Angeles, CA; married Daniel Sokatch; children: Noa, Zoe (daughters). Education: Attended law school. Religion: Jewish.
Worked variously as a waitress, fact checker for a film magazine, reader for a publishing company, and associate producer for Frontline.
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, Wendy Lamb Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Harmless, Wendy Lamb Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Harmless and A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life were both adapted as audiobooks, Listening Library, 2006.
In her writing for young adults, Dana Reinhardt draws on an array of career experiences, among them her time as a waitress, law student, social worker, crisis hotline employee, and documentary film producer. She brings the same hard-core realism to her fiction, penning compelling novels such as A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life and Harmless, which critics have praised for their ability to speak to young readers.
Praised by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as a "moving first novel" that "celebrates family love and promotes tolerance of diverse beliefs," A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life introduces sixteen-year-old Simone as she endures a grudging meeting with her birth mother, Rivka, that ultimately changes her life in a surprising way. Simone always knew she was different than her adopted family—she is olive-skinned and dark haired while her adopted parents are fair—but she takes deep pride in her family's agnostic beliefs. Therefore, Rivka's devout Jewish faith comes as a total shock to the teen. Simone becomes exposed to the traditions of Orthodox Judaism as her relationship with her mother deepens, and she ultimately gains tolerance while also developing a sense of her own heritage and unique identity.
While religion is a major theme in A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, Reinhardt weaves other facets of teenager life into her story, including such topics as drinking, sex, and love. A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that the balance the author strikes between seriousness— Rivka is dying of ovarian cancer—and humor is successful; the seriousness is interjected "in very realistic doses," then leavened "with a sense of humor and a sense of hope." In Booklist, Holly Koelling wrote that "both Simone and Rivka are strong, complicated characters who benefit greatly from each other," dubbing A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life a story Reinhardt tells "with skill, attention to detail, and poignancy."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 2006, Holly Koelling, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 85.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 283.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 88.
Kliatt, January, 2006, Claire Rosser, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 10.
Publishers Weekly, January 2, 2006, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 63.
School Library Journal, February, 2006, Rich Margolis, interview with Reinhardt, p. 39; March, 2006, Janet Hilbun, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 228.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2006, Sarah Cofer, review of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, p. 51.
Dana Reinhardt Home Page,http://www.danareinhardt.net (November 29, 2006).
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (November 29, 2006), "Dana Reinhardt."