By Krista Martinelli
In “Confessions of a Jewish Shiksa,” a new autobiography by Frannie Sheridan, the story weaves through many aspects of her life as an actor, writer and comedian. With this masterfully crafted story, Sheridan opens the reader’s eyes to her family’s long-kept secret – that they are Jewish. Her parents escaped the Holocaust, only to be persecuted in Canada where her father was beaten and almost left for dead. Sheridan’s father, who she calls “Diddy,” makes a decision to raise the family under the pretense of being Catholic, in order to protect them from further danger. She is faced with her father’s haunting words, “Never tell anyone.”
You see the complicated life and complicated lie that they are forced to live through the eyes of Frannie as a young girl. Meanwhile, Frannie is torn apart by her mother and father, seeking their approval and not able to ever achieve that from both parents at the same time. It’s a story that brings pain to the surface, but punctuates it with humor throughout.
Frannie’s story takes you places – from the Catholic life she led in Ottawa, Canada to her experimental days as a stripper to her more recent appearances at comedy clubs in Palm Beach County, Florida. She is undeniably brave and seeks to overcome her fears of being seen naked by signing up as a stripper. That’s one way to conquer all sorts of phobias at once.
It’s a lively story and you’ll find yourself turning the pages quite easily, as her journey speeds along. Sheridan’s father instills in her a deep fear of being institutionalized, always claiming that her mother is mentally ill. She writes, “…it was just a matter of time before I would be found out. A crazy Jewish-Catholic girl who’s torn in half.” The greatness of her story is in the way that she overcomes her struggle. In deciding to tell her truth and write about her true heritage, Sheridan uplifts the whole family. She puts on a one-woman show based on her life called “The Waltonsteins.” She also attracts the attention of film maker Arthur Hiller (known for many films, including “Love Story”). Hiller was working on making “The Waltonsteins” into a full-length film before he died in 2016. Because of Sheridan’s writings and performances, the whole family is brought out of the proverbial closet and into the light. Feature film still to come.
While the strip club scenes are raw and gripping, the scenes at home with the Sheridan family are relatable and familiar. As a comedian, Sheridan knows how to handle an audience and how to leave them wanting just a bit more. As a writer, she carries out the same thing, painting a picture of her story in colorful detail and at the end, leaving you wanting just a bit more. And that’s how it should be. “Confessions of a Jewish Shiksa” is a compelling look at coming to terms with your true family heritage and true self. The laughs in between are an extra bonus.
Confessions of a Jewish Shiksa
Frannie Sheridan who lives in West Palm Beach is in demand as a Speaker “FROM TRAUMA TO NIRVANA” – available for in-person or cyber appearances. She is selling inscribed copies of her memoir from her home in West Palm Beach – they can be shipped anywhere in the US or Canada.
Copies of the book also available via Mosaic Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
The book, which was well received at the Frankfurt Book Fair by foreign publishers, is being translated into German, Italian, French and Russian.