Book review: Nostalgic and Satirical Look at the Past

If the title of the Rosenbaum’s novel makes you think of Jackie Gleason, that’s because it’s the catchphrase of the comedian whose name was once synonymous with Miami Beach. However, he’s only one of the real life characters to appear in the book. In 1972, when “How Sweet It Is” begins, Gleason is on the decline and the counterculture is on the uprise. The city faces two national conventions (Democrats and Republicans) that summer and the chief of police is determined not to repeat the fiasco of the 1968 Democratic one in Chicago. The focus of the work, though, is the Posner family – Holocaust survivors Sophie and Jacob Posner, and their 12-year-old son, Adam. In chapters that feel more like vignettes or short stories, rather than parts of a defined novel, Rosenbaum offers a clever, satirical look at Miami, with a slightly serious undercurrent.

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Beach Buzz: Rosenbaum will return to South Florida during November to promote his newest novel, How Sweet It Is!

Author Thane Rosenbaum grew up on Miami Beach. A novelist, essayist and law professor who currently lives in New York, Rosenbaum will return to South Florida during November to promote his newest novel, How Sweet It Is! The book — a comedic tale set in Miami Beach in 1972 — has been selected by the city of Miami Beach as the first book in its “One Book, One City” initiative, a pilot program designed to engage the community in literary conversations.

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Why I Love Miami Beach

How Sweet It Is brings the reader back to Miami Beach in 1972. It was the time of the Republican convention. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason (hence, the book’s title, derived from his famous catch phrase), Isaac Bashevis Singer, Muhammad Ali, Meyer Lansky — all were present in Miami Beach in those days. Rosenbaum imagines a dysfunctional family of Holocaust survivors having imaginary encounters with those characters. Thane Rosenbaum and I chatted about his new book.

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Miami Beach Launches One Book, One City

Miami Beach is proving the love of reading is not a lost art. There may be no hard and fast statistical data to back up that statement, but if the success of the inaugural One Book, One City program is any indication, then the proof is in the large number of fans who turned out to meet and enjoy readings from acclaimed author Thane Rosenbaum presenting his book “How Sweet It Is!”

One Book, One City is the latest offering from the forward-thinking leadership of Miami Beach to promote a sense of unity and community through the use of literature that depicts the city’s vibrant history.

So how does that translate for those who love to read? Miami Beach partnered with author Thane Rosenbaum, known for his critically acclaimed novels, The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, Elijah Visible, and his latest, How Sweet It Is! to bring the concept of a book club to the masses.

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