“Just Lassen to Me!”- A First-Generation Son’s Story: Surviving a Survivor
Paperback, 494 Pages
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Is it possible to admire a man’s accomplishments but abhor what he stands for, to seek his blessing but spurn his legacy? What if that man is your father? John Simkovits, a native of Czechoslovakia, survived the ravages of World War II before immigrating to Canada to escape the onset of Soviet Communism. Over the next thirty years, he grew a business and real estate empire through corporate double-dealing, devious tax evading, and offshore money stashing—flitting from one tax dodge and haven to the next. Johnny groomed his second son, Harvy, to be the heir of his fortune, enticing him into a world of questionable deals and backroom chicanery. Unlike his religious brother and embittered mother, Harvy was drawn to his father’s shrewd business savvy and listened to his advice, which often began with, “Just lassen [listen] to me!” Harvy faces hard choices and undergoes shattering life changes to reconcile, repudiate, and rectify his father’s dubious... More > legacy.< Less
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Mar 18, 2018This father/son story is unlike others, touching yes but also multilayered like a great mystery novel. You won't want to put it down.
Jan 22, 2018In my early training as a psychotherapist, a mentor advised me to read literature for a broad understanding of people and the forces that shape them. 'Just Lassan to Me,' supplies just such wisdom. It's breadth in scope provides a rich context for understanding the development and confusion of a little boy, adolescent, and young man. The book explores Harvy's wish for his father's acceptance and approval, coupled with an aversion to his father's morally and legally questionable financial dealings and womanizing. The book portrays circumstances in pre- and post- World War II Eastern Europe that prompted Harvy's parents emigration to Canada after the war. It's a story of his father's ascent as a successful Montreal businessman. It tells of his mother's marital struggles and secret past. Simkovits brings the reader's senses alive with rich detailed descriptions, such as a portrait of nightlife in a lively Russian bar in Montreal. The author recounts times when he felt pride in his... More > father's capacity to skillfully build a business and employ his intelligence to create a financially privileged life. He describes being chosen as his father's confidante, favored son over his older brother, and recognizing that he benefits from his father's success. He shows how his decades long struggle with ambivalence towards his father was evoked by his fundamental honesty of character and grounding in Christian ethics. The story line gives the reader a welcome path to resolution. If I were to make a change in the book, I'd reduce some of the narrative about the travels by car. I became eager to return the focus to the relationships among the characters. I was left wanting to know more about what's next in Harvy's life. Mary Keady, M.S.W.< Less
Jan 15, 2018This is a tale of "surviving a survivor," as the title says. Harvy survived his sometimes-oppressive father (and went on to very successfully form his own -- honest -- business and raise a lovely family). The book contains much more than just family dynamics, though. John Simkovits had to endure the Iron Curtain government of Communist Czechoslovakia. He fled for Canada where he felt he could build a business with less government interference. But the enduring lesson he learned from the Communists was self-before-country, and he carried that with him to his new homeland. It's perversely interesting to learn some of the behind-the-scenes methods for cheating the government he tried to teach his son. Don't miss this book!
Jan 5, 2018The suspenseful story of a son’s journey as he learns to navigate through his father’s questionable business practices, and the remarkable discovery he makes as a teenager about his ancestral roots. From his parent’s flight from the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, through his boyhood growing up in Montreal, the author uses vivid description and lively dialogue to create a realistic and memorable story.
Jan 3, 2018" Surviving a Survivor" is the key to appreciating this memoir. It differs from the more-common angst about parents who didn't "fight back". The author's father had compensated for the craziness of Central European turbulence during the WW2 era by mastering survival techniques. He later exhibited these to impress people who might otherwise be considered a "nobody". A son witnessing this could not help being conflicted about this in relation to a growing adult awareness of ethical and moral responsibilities. Thus, this is a timely, well written and entertaining book. George F. Grady, MD Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Public Health
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- Harvy Simkovits (Standard Copyright License)
- August 25, 2017
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.79 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
- Product ID
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