Of Unknown Origin by Debra Levi Holtz
A Memoir

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A true story that could have been culled from the best of Chandler or Ellroy, Of Unknown Origin is about a woman insistent on re-claiming her family history and her own identity, however terrifying the consequences may be. Debra Levi Holtz's attempts to locate her birth mother are riddled with veiled threats and dead ends. The truth about Debbie's mother is inextricably linked to the buried history of her adoptive father, Jewish mobster Manny Skar, who was gunned down in front of their apartment building when Debbie was still a child. Debbie uses her reporting skills to unearth newspaper accounts of arrests, murders, and a mysteriously funded Vegas-style hotel. As she perseveres past lost files and misinformation, a picture emerges of the woman who handed her out a car window thirty-five years earlier-a selfish, coldly "rational" Ayn Rand devotee whose shady associations and intimidating presence recall Manny Skar.

About Debra Levi Holtz

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Holtz is a former staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, who holds an MSJ from Northwestern University.
Published May 1, 2001 by Council Oak Books. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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Holtz's memoir focuses on her search for—and bewildering interactions with—her birth mother, Helen, who turns out to be a delusional and eccentric Ayn Rand follower, given to weirdly Randian pronouncements, like calling Holtz's "invasion of [her] privacy...

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