Elaine Soloway has lived the past four decades of her life out loud and in the public eye. At the age of 78, Elaine has four successful and widely-read blogs, has published three books, and most recently has seen aspects of her life immortalized on the Golden Globe and Emmy Award Winning "Transparent," which is produced and written by her daughters, Jill and Faith Soloway. Through a combination of traditional and social media, Elaine shares her life generously with her readers -- exposing both her successes and challenges to public scrutiny.

A lifelong Chicagoan, she writes about moving to the West Coast -- and discovering she was happier back in her own hometown. She muses about her desire for companionship, about her first husband's external transformation, and the illnesses that ended her second husband's life far too soon. She tackles the ageism that pervades our society, the stress of caregiving, her passion for city living -- all with her signature warmth and wicked sense of humor.

Lonnie Nasatir Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League Greater Chicago-Upper Midwest Region

 

Early in 2009, after more than a decade of marriage, Elaine Soloway's husband, Tommy, began to change―exhibiting inappropriate behaviors at times, becoming inexplicably weepy at others. More troublesome, he began to have difficulty finding words. Ultimately, Tommy’s doctors discovered that he had frontotemporal degeneration―a diagnosis that explained Tommy’s baffling symptoms and transformed Soloway from irritated wife to unflappable, devoted caregiver in one fell swoop.

In Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion Soloway documents Tommy’s deteriorating health and eventual death, shedding light on the day-to-day realities of those who assume the caregiver role in a relationship with uncompromising honesty and wry humor. Charming, frank, and ultimately uplifting, Soloway’s story reveals how rich with love and appreciation a life compromised by an incurable illness can be―and how even widowhood can open a door to a new, invigorated life.

 

Ann Robins is not the type to wind up in the bed of a sexy saxophone player. After all, she's a good Jewish girl and married mother of two. But when her lawyer husband grouses she's spending too much time playing activist in their integrated community, and he seems to be otherwise engaged in his career and his acting hobby, she finds love in

unexpected places. Perhaps Ann should've figured her marriage, which began on a walk down the aisle on the arm of someone else's boyfriend, would stumble along the way. But fortunately, for readers who find inspiration and strength from second-act stories, Ann emerges at midlife secure, independent, and optimistic.

 

Set in the 1940s, Elaine Soloway's memoir takes its title from the street that Studs Terkel exalts in his classic book, "Division Street: America" and from the pet name her father gave her. Soloway lived in a three-room flat above her family's grocery store. In her tale of bookies, poolrooms, sidewalk playgrounds, and relatives who lived down the block, we learn about her loving but embattled parents, her adored older brother, and neighborhood kibitzers. Along with her recollections of a lively, unique community, she also

shows the underside of childhood and urban life. Although far from the Holocaust and the war overseas, Soloway faced dangers close to home when a child her age was horribly murdered, and when predators preyed on voiceless little girls. As Soloway struggled to find her own identity, the family store and Division Street waged battles too: for post-war prosperity, television, supermarkets, and suburbia threatened an end to corner stores and to old neighborhoods everywhere.