Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson

Tell Me How This Ends Well

David Samuel Levinson

Darkly comic, disturbingly prescient, and incredibly accomplished, Tell Me How This Ends Well interweaves the stories of this very troubled family into a rare and compelling exploration of the state of America itself.

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Why is tonight different from all other nights?
Tonight we kill dad.
 
In 2022, American Jews face an increasingly unsafe and anti-Semitic landscape at home. Against this backdrop, the Jacobson family gathers for Passover in Los Angeles. But their immediate problems are more personal than political, with the three adult children, Mo, Edith, and Jacob, in various states of crisis, the result, each claims, of a lifetime of mistreatment by their father, Julian. The siblings have begun to suspect that Julian is hastening their mother Roz's demise, and years of resentment boil over as they debate whether to go through with the real reason for their reunion: an ill-considered plot to end their father’s iron rule for good. That is, if they can put their bickering, grudges, festering relationships, and distrust of one another aside long enough to act.
 
And God help them if their mother finds out . . .
 
Tell Me How This Ends Well presents a blistering and prescient vision of the near future, turning the exploits of one very funny, very troubled family into a rare and compelling exploration of the state of America, and what it could become.


Advance Galley Reviews

I had guaranteed this book because I had liked the description but the book was very slow...The author did try to capture the reader's attention by putting a lot of incidents but I just couldn't finish it.

This book was confusing. While I enjoyed parts of it, some of it just didn't appeal to me. The characters were whiny and I just kept thinking they needed to grow up. I felt sorry for the mother but at the same time, she chose her life. Just not my cup of tea but I can see where others may have liked it.

The book had a LOT going on all at once, it made my head spin. It seemed like some incidents were thrown in for momentary effect, or like several books merged into one. Reading this book made me tired, but I had to know what happened to Dietrich and Edith. The rest of them, not so much, but I loved Dietrich and Edith. Julian could have been more interesting, Edith went a long way to explaining him but not far enough. Any more detail would have made this exhausting book even more so, I guess, so perhaps it was well enough left alone. Overall, a really good read. I would recommend it. There are many good, strong characters and the plot moves quickly and in an interesting way. Also, I understand the galley was an uncorrected proof. There were quite a few typos in the galley I read. The galley left out periods at the end of sentences in many places. I hope that was corrected.

This book was an interesting one with a plot line set in the future and has characters with a large dynamic of not being treated fairly. That in itself made it different from alot of the books that I normally read. It was pretty dark at times. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book.

Tell Me How This Ends Well is set in the future where the majority of the US is anti-Semitic and Jews are persecuted. This is the backdrop for a Jewish family gathering in LA to celebrate Passover. While this idea was interesting, I'm still not sure of the purpose of this setting. The rest of the story (the siblings planning to kill their dad) did not need this setting. In fact, I found it to be rather distracting. It didn't help that the author didn't explain why anti-Semitism was so rampant until halfway through the book. I did find the characters of this book interesting, but there were none that I really cared about. I felt sorry for the mother, of course, but I wish that her perspective in the book had been more satisfying. Overall, the book was a little slow. The ending was mostly satisfying, but it took me a while to trudge through all of the family antics.

I enjoyed this book. It was a bit slow in places but i ended up liking the main characters (obviously not Julian, the dad) and the story had a few good twists and turns that kept it interesting. A scary and bleak picture was painted of how America could turn against itself provided the backdrop to this family drama. I would recommend this book.

There are many elements of black comedy, but sometimes it came across as a little too trite and predictable. The characters weren't necessarily memorable, and I have to admit that I found it a bit difficult to trudge through this book because I couldn't find myself caring about anybody but the dying mother, but there were moments where the novel succeeded in redeeming itself, albeit few and far between. There are many more redeeming qualities in the final 60 or so pages, but I understand how not many would consider it enough to validate investing time in reading through the first 330 pages.

I really liked this. It is really well written. It's entertaining. The only criticism I have is that there are no chapter breaks to speak of, only when it changes between narrators, which does not happen as often as you might think. It's an interesting concept and I felt really engaged. I also enjoyed the characters.

Thank you for the Arc of this book. I was able to read about 100-120 pages and then it died after that. I was no longer invested in the storyline. What first intrigued me was the dysfunction family dynamic and the storyline but after awhile it just seemed to bore me. I love the plotline and how unique it was but it just wasn't my cup of tea at this time. As I am not a quitter of books. I will, however, try later this year to finish it again and if my opinion changes I will update my review.

Tell me how this ends well, it would have to start well first. The writing is alright, the characters are unlikable to say the least. Three adult children cannot tolerate their intolerant father.The family patriarch has spent his children's lives making snide remarks to children who are a touch sensitive. The character Jacob we follow is upset his father doesn't accept his homosexuality, which is a fair criticism. But these kids surely don't accept their father for who he is, or each other. I understand having toxic family that are cruel, but you stay away from those people, you don't plot to kill them. Come on. This is a story of adults who never realize they are to blame for their issues. There's a saying "Boiling water softens a potato, but hardens an egg. It's not about your environment, it matters what you're made of." Thank you for the chance to read this story early. I really don't like writing mean reviews. This book is not for me. It might do well with a different audience.

It's a thin border between hard to like characters and dark comedy and the novel toes and crosses back and forth throughout. It's a scary America presented in the novel and it's ties to current America's fears and strife that makes the fictional characters and their tales weightier than normal. I'm not sure if I liked this book, and I definitely don't recommend it for a light, fun read, but it has something to say if you can listen.

Thank you to Penguin's First to Read program for the access to an advance reading copy of Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson. In the beginning, I was intrigued by this book. The story of a family so dysfunctional that the children think they need to kill one parent to save the other caught my attention fairly quickly. After the first 100 pages, I was ready to stop reading. I wasn't invested in the characters. The story seemed far fetched and though it takes place in the future - it is in the NEAR future - only five years from now. Had the story taken place 50 years from now, I could probably have bought into it a littler easier. Still, I'm not a quitter so I decided that I would give the book another 100 pages to hook me. At the 200 page mark (about halfway through), I wouldn't say I was invested exactly, but I did decide to continue reading - if only to find out whether or not it WOULD end well. And so I finished the book. It DID get better although I never thought it was GOOD. With five main characters and a whole host of secondary ones, the individual story lines got muddled. I'm still confused as to why the author chose to add the troubled political climate to the story. There was PLENTY going on without it. I thought it added a lot of confusion to the story - which, in my opinion would have been much better without it. I would give this book 2.5 stars.

This is not for the sensitive or faint-hearted reader. In an era of politcal correctness, many characters in this book are not. Tell Me How This Ends Well is raw, perceptive, and often ugly. I won't bother with plot summary, since others have done so here. There's a lot of rough, dirty humor that can be offensive, so be warned, if that’s not your thing. The story is about the old issue of racism and prejudice but within a modern family and set in the near future. The family members don't all hold the same opinions and prejudices, but they really know what to say to best hurt each other. While much of the description is visceral and really lively, there are moments that are simply overworked. Early on we are treated to a never ending description of IHOP pancakes: "....shoveling another forkful of cold, spongy pancake into his mouth. It was only after he was choking on the oversaturated hunk of surprisingly dry, inedible flapjack...." We get it, so don't eat the pancake. But lest we were uncertain the character isn't enjoying his meal, the following is provided: "[Jacob's appetite] fled out the door into the rainy street, where one of those British- inspired, double-decker tour buses, clearly lost and in search of more affluent pastures, like Beverly Hills, ran it over in cold blood." Okay, maybe it's time to leave the IHOP and the overwrought metaphors. The plot picks up pace, and the characters continue taking on life. They are mostly unpleasant, all of them deeply flawed and resentful of each other and life. But you can't say they aren't interesting. The ending is about as uplifting as you could expect for such a brutal narrative. All in all, I would say this book could be turned into a pretty good Netflix or Amazon series.

Tell Me How This Ends Well A Novel by David Samuel Levinson I received this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson Is a novel set in future LA 2022 that mirrors 1930's Germany with the prejudice and hostility against the Jewish population as it spreads across America. It is a story of a Jewish family and how the adult children come to grips with their abusive father and submissive mother. The story is set as four different points of view, the youngest son Jacob, the daughter and middle sibling Edith, or Thistle as she has requested to be called, Moses the oldest and Roz the mother, and how they all perceive Julian, the abusive husband and father. The story starts with Jacob and his partner Dietrich flying in to Las Angeles from Berlin to be with Jacob's family for Passover. It talks about his fears in his relationship with Dietrich, his fears in seeing his family again and being around his father who abused him, emotionally, mentally and physically while he was growing up. The story line then moves to Thistle who as a girl, her father told her lies about her mother to contaminate the mother-daughter relationship and tried to kill her by encouraging her eat the figs that she was so allergic to. Thistle the adult is an emotional wreck from a early college romance that went horribly wrong, a wasted marriage and a professional disaster. The third part of the story is Mo, who is a waning Hollywood star whose reality show has been canceled, his marriage is disintegrating, his siblings and his parents (including his father that tried to kill him with a baseball when he was a child) are arriving for Passover and his reality show is filming the ceremony and his anxiety attacks are getting worse. Roz has the last of the story. Telling her story of how she met and married Julian against her mother's wishes and how she knew he only wanted her parents money and how once he had her, wanting to be rid of her. Her short comings during the marriage and raising her children and how, now that she had been diagnosed with a terminal condition, how she was going to take care of things Jacob's fears, Edith's emotionally instability, and Mo's anxiety attacks all stem from their father's verbal, physical and emotional abuse during their childhood on each of them and their mother, and their mother's inability to stand up to him. It is a well written, moving story that is told as a dark drama, that is almost comedy.

I would consider David Samuel Levinson's future works because I enjoyed his writing style. But this book. Not funny. I couldn't relate to or sympathize with any characters, and I disliked the premise. The exploits of this "very troubled family" needed to be "very funny" to balance the disturbing premise. I felt as if the scale tipped too far in the troubled direction.

Based upon the initial review, I started this book thinking it would be a dark comedy in the line of "very bad things". What I got was a bunch of unlikable, dysfunctional adults who all fell into the role of blaming all of their problems on their upbringing. I found the story to be sluggish and not interesting. I will not read another book from this author.

Tell Me How This Ends Well is about the Jacobson siblings who come up with a plot to kill their father in order to give their terminally ill mother just a few months of freedom before her death. This took place mostly in America of 2022 after Israel has been dissolved and the American attitude towards Israeli refugees and Jewish people in general is rather hostile. I enjoyed this mostly, but I do feel the story dragged a bit at times.

When I explain what this book is about, I don't know if anyone will think this is going to be a satisfying read. A group of siblings want to kill off their father so their ailing mother can have a few good months of her life left to live. Trouble is, on the surface, the mother doesn't appear to really dislike the life she's led. Sounds morbid right? Except that even with the synopsis, I requested an advance copy. I kind of knew that I was going to like it.......and I did! The book focuses on each of the three siblings, and then their mother, with each one narrating a section of the book. It all takes place over a Passover weekend, with occasional flashbacks from each narrator showing the atrocities of their respective lives with this intolerable man. Even though there is abuse (emotional and mental, nothing physical), it's told in a way that while causing you to detest the father, is still a farcical look at deciding to kill him off. The characters, and their significant others, are all so well conceived by the author, and despite what seems to be a heady premise, there are several laugh out loud moments. The ending is quite the surprise, but totally satisfying in its resolution. This one is just quirky enough to totally satisfy my penchant for dysfunctional family stories. Well written characters, and a completely original plot, this one should garner your attention if you are looking for something a bit off the beaten path in fiction.

Tell Me How This Ends Well is a near-future story of a dysfunctional family gathered to celebrate Passover -- and to plot the death of the abusive family patriarch, Julian. The three children, Jacob, Edith, and Mo, all get a turn at narrating the events. This near-future world is weirdly prescient, with the rise of global anti-semitism. In the world of the novel, Israel has been attacked and destroyed by neighboring countries, and Jewish Israeli citizens have constituted a new diaspora. Climate change and drought have a severe impact on daily lives. All of this is the backdrop for the (emotionally) struggling Jacobson family. The humor in this book is extremely dark, and the plot is absurd to the point of farce. There is a lot of violence against animals, as well as some against children and elderly people. Usually this sort of thing bothers me, but the book is so clearly not grounded in reality that it wasn't particularly distressing. I just found the book completely hilarious. All of the characters have some sort of flaw, and make terrible decisions here and there, but you can't help rooting for them in one way or another. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to just about anyone unless they are very, very squeamish about violence and cruelty.

This was an interesting story. I found it a bit slow in the middle, perhaps because I didn't relate as well to that particular character. The book really makes you stop and think about discrimination and how it can escalate. Some of the examples of discrimination were only hinted at or discussed briefly where I think it would have been better to the story to explore how that affects the characters. The main story line is about the family dynamics which were also interesting to read. I feel many topics were touched on, but not much was addressed in depth. The ending was the most intriguing part, but I don't think it was intended to be. Overall, it was an interesting read, but definitely slow in the beginning and middle.

This is a well written book but I just didn't connect with it. I didn't find the characters to be particularly likable,the plot became to heavy in the middle and as subtle as a sledgehammer. I wasn't pulled in to story. It didn't work for me.

Wow is one word to describe this book. Set just 5 years from now (April 2022), Tell Me How This Ends Well tells the story of the Jacobson family, a jewish family living in an America that is slowly turning into a Nazi Germany-lite. They aren't being dragged off to camps but they are dealing with an increase in attacks against them from suicide bombers (yes, in the US) to have slurs written on their homes to discrimination in a number of ways. The family is gathering for Passover, the first time they've been together in a while as the youngest son of the Jacobson clan has being living Germany for a few years. Told in 3 very long chapter (100 plus pages each), one slightly shorter chapter (about 50 pages), and one normal sized chapter (about 15 pages), we follow each of the Jacobson children, Moses, Edith, & the unfortunately named Jacob Jacobson (seriously, who does this?) and their mother, Roz as they each navigate a weekend that will ultimately change their lives. The children have all gathered to not only be together in what may be the final days of their mother's life but to kill their father. Yes, they want to kill their overbearing unloving father. Reading some of the memories of life with their father and even seeing how he treats them now, it isn't too surprising they want to end his life. Each of the children has their own reason and their own doubts about what they want to do. The Jacobson are not perfect people. They are flawed, each in their own ways mostly due to the treatment they received at the hands of their father and husband. He treated, or rather mistreated, them all differently. Did he deserve their wrath? Yeah, probably. While I did enjoy this book, I think it would've benefited from being broken down a bit more. Within each section (each one following a different character though never in the first person) there are flashbacks as well as moments in the present and I feel it would've helped with the flow and understanding if these were split up into separate chapters. Its frightening to imagine a world like the one depicted in the background this book, where a select group of people are terrorized but it seems like we are heading more and more down that road each day as people allow hate to rule them and they turn to violence to show their hatred. You see it in the news every day and while it may not be based on religion, racial violence seems to be taking over our country. In fate, as I was reading this book, a terror attack happened in London. Can we ever hope to live in a world were people don't want to kill? Doubtful but it would be nice.

The book is a bit long and I think could be shorter. it meanders a bit, but the basic premise is that these 3 adult siblings are going to kill their father since he's a miserable excuse for a human being who has made their lives hell to give their mother (who is dying from a terminal disease) a break. The family is Jewish and there's a lot of anti-Semitic violence going on in the book so they have a scapegoat to blame for his death. The dialogue is realistic and sad and makes you think about all the things from our childhood that we drag I to adulthood that shapes who we are.

This was an interesting book - I ended up liking it much more than I expected. It's the story of the Jacobson family and takes place in 2022 but hatred for Jews in the US is now rampant. However, the focus of the story is the Jacobson siblings hatred for their cruel father. They plan to kill him over Passover weekend to finally give their dying mother some peace. Each section is from a different family member's perspective and gives you some insight into their reasoning and how their father's treatment of them affected their lives as adults. I enjoyed the author's style of writing and would definitely read more by him.

This is unequivocally like nothing I've read before. Really still processing, which probably means like broccoli, I learned to like it.

This was the first book I have read from this author and like that it takes place in 2022 which is the not too distant future. I liked that the book was told from the viewpoint of each of the children and the mother. It made it easier to relate to what kind of tyranny that the family faced at the hand of their father. The resentment builds until they decide that Roz should be able to appreciate and enjoy her time that she has left to live. Unfortunately loose lips sank ships, and Jacob's partner tells Roz about the plan. Everything falls apart as a consequence. It is not hard to see that the future could be more full of bigotry and racism than it is now. I enjoyed the humor of this book and would like to read more from this author.

It's not difficult to fathom that a few years into the future, the world will be an uncomfortable place to live in, with limited resources and groups coming to harm after being targeted by hateful people, as the world has already shifted to reflect this scenario. Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson depicts the 2022 reunion of a dysfunctional family in Los Angeles during Passover. The Jacobsons have had conflicting experiences with and emotions about the family patriarch Julian Jacobson. His wife Roz has withstood his moods and his control over her money for years, but with her recent terminal medical prognosis, questions about her rapid demise arise from her children. Moses, Edith, and Jacob, the adult Jacobson children, all have varying recollections of how their father treated them, but a majority of their opinions of him are negative - so much so that they're colluding to kill him to free their mother, and themselves, from his manipulative tyranny; however, in order to be successful, the children first to have to get along among themselves. Family dysfunction is a topic rife with nuances to explore, on both the collective and individual level, which the narrative explores and develops fairly well. The story was not as funny or compelling as the synopsis had me thinking it'd be; however, there were amusing aspects to the tale that kept me entertained and interested enough to read further. There's an attempt to cover a lot of ground throughout this book: anti-Semitism, personal and familial dysfunction, and a murderous plot. Each of these aspects is a lot to address individually, but trying to address them all made the narrative feel a bit forced or unbelievable while sacrificing the potential for some serious conversations to be started with some of the thought-provoking ideas presented. Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

 


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