Ilene Beckerman


The Smartest Woman I Know

The Smartest Woman I Know—Ilene Beckerman’s fifth illustrated treasure—is a tribute to the insightful woman who raised her.

It’s been said there’s nobody as smart as an old woman. That’s Gingy’s grandmother, Ettie, though she had no more than a third-grade education. She dispensed unforgettable wisdom to Gingy and her sister, Tootsie, as well as to the customers at her and (her husband) Mr. Goldberg’s stationery and magazine store, where customers ranged from Irish nannies to Sara Delano Roosevelt to Marlene Dietrich. Clever about life and love, food and men, Ettie had advice for everyone, and it didn’t hurt that she got some of her best ideas from talking things over with God, out loud.

Known for bringing wit and emotion to issues that concern women, depth and poignancy to subjects as seemingly trivial as clothes, beauty, and bridesmaids, Gingy now magically brings the irrepressible Ettie Goldberg to life.


The Wisdom and Worries of Grandma Ettie


“Ettie’s epigrams are packaged in a quick, amusing read, complete with quirky illustrations.”—Publishers Weekly

“With its compact format and bright colors, The Smartest Woman I Know by Ilene Beckerman looks deceptively cute, but it’s a deeply felt homage to the author’s 4-foot-10-inch grandmother Ettie.”—The Jewish Week (full review)

The Smartest Woman I Know by Ilene Beckerman is a whimsically illustrated memoir about the author’s acerbic Jewish grandmother, with nuggets like, ‘If there was only one way of looking at something, God wouldn’t have give you two eyes.'”—St. Petersburg Times

“Readers…will laugh and fall in love with Ettie and Mr. Goldberg, and Goldberg’s store, in this truly funny, charming memoir.”—Durham Herald-Sun

“You don’t have to be Jewish to get a good many smiles and some sensible advice from this book.”—Hudson Valley News

“After reading Beckerman’s humorous collection of nuggets of Ettie Goldberg’s wisdom, I agree everyone needs a Jewish grandmother.”—The News-Review


“Ilene Beckerman On The Power Of Jewish Grandmothers” – an interview published in the Baltimore Jewish Timesread article

Book Details

Hardcover, 112 pages (also eBook)
ISBN: 9781565125377 (1565125371)
Published by Algonquin Books


Barnes & Noble
Powell’s Books