The Two-Family House: A Novel
by Lynda Cohen Loigman
Hardcover- $6.52

"An emotional but dreamy novel that...will transport you far, far away from your next dreary Monday morning. You may do a lot of sobbing, ...

Overall rating:


How would you rate this book?

Member ratings

  "The Two-Family House" by WCCREADERS (see profile) 04/12/16

All of our readers really enjoyed this story. We also thought it was especially well written. The characters were developed so well they became real and the emotional interaction of the characters pulled the reader into the story. It is an excellent book to discuss as a group because the motivations of the characters and the affect of timing on the lives of the two families was open to personal interpretation. The fact it is the authors first book is amazing. Thanks BookMovement for introducing this novel to our book club.

  "the two family house" by Carolynr (see profile) 05/12/16

In the middle of a blizzard in a two family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart. The mothers are sisters in laws. Rose has three girls and is a dutiful, quiet wife who wants nothing more than to please her husband. Helen is warm and generous and the exhausted mother of 4 boys. They raise their families side by side, supporting each other. When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal , but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. no one know why and no one can stop it. I did love this book. I loved how the characters evolved, even if you guessed the issues and why they were occurring. Good read

  "This was a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me! " by thewanderingjew (see profile) 06/09/16

Two Family House, Linda Cohen Loigman, author; Barrie Kreinik, narrator
I loved this book, but I think you might have had to be there, you might have had to be Jewish, you might have had to be born in that era, and you probably should know something about Brooklyn, its two family houses and the Jewish ghetto and culture to really appreciate this book and identify with its characters and their way of life. If you were part of that era and that background, you can’t help but really enjoy the book’s walk down memory lane, apart and aside from the story itself.
The narrator may have overdone the Jewish inflection at times, but, otherwise, I think that she did a marvelous job of interpreting the attitudes and personalities of each of the characters, male and female, giving each an authentic voice, complete with the appropriate accent for each one, subtly showing that as they became upwardly mobile and successful, their Jewish intonation lessened, they moved out of Brooklyn into Long Island where the WASPS lived and their Barbra Streisand sound-alike accents diminished. Jews wanted to fit in, and they wanted to succeed. They wanted to achieve the American dream in spite of the ever present anti-Semitism.
I grew up in a two-family house in Brooklyn. I walked to the corner candy store to get a newspaper, to the local green grocer and vegetable store, the shoemaker, the pharmacy where the “druggist” subbed for the doctor in those days. I had relatives who lived so close by that my aunts and uncles were interchangeable with my own parents. My aunts shared a two family house around the corner from mine. There was always a safe space to go to if I found no one home. No door was ever locked. We had so many aunts and uncles and we often laughed at some while we praised others. Some were always baking but were so frugal they could serve 100 guests from a cake meant for 12 ( a bit of an exaggeration, lol). Some seemed cold and mean or teased us. Some brought us bubble gum every week with the groceries they delivered to us from their dairy store, and we loved them best. Some cheated each other, some were jealous of the success of others, some borrowed and didn’t return, but by and large, we were all one big, happy family. It was a far simpler life than today’s scene. Ethics and morality and rules were more clearly defined. There was a clear line between right and wrong, good and bad, that we were taught not to cross, while at the same time we might turn a blind eye and accept the wrongdoing of more successful relatives. Success was important, not so much how it was achieved. It was the culture. It was survival. The author caught its essence and put it on the page.
This story is basically about two brothers with entirely different personalities who work together in a family cardboard box business started by their father. It is about their wives who also have distinctly different personalities and it is about their children. It is about the house they all lived in and the way in which their relationships changed over the years because of certain choices, secrets and events. I totally recognized the sister-in-law’s and brother’s behavior, their customs, admonitions and expectations that were different for boys and girls. Girls got married, boys got jobs. Males were more desirable because they carried the family name into the future, females did not. Most mothers acquiesced to all of their husband's demands. Fathers made all of the decisions and rules. Mothers didn't defy them even if they didn't agree with them. Jewish guilt was then, and is today, alive and well. It was the way of life for Jewish families in those days. They were also on the move; they were aspiring to higher heights and were upwardly mobile. When they became more successful they actually did move to Long Island just like the Bermans. Often those moves disrupted families and petty jealousies rose up. Those who now had air conditioning wouldn't meet in the homes of those who didn't.
I loved the story for its nostalgia and the memories it evoked in me, even more than for its content, but I enjoyed that part too. I knew the streets and the neighborhoods. I loved the way the family interacted and the way the division of power was exposed. It accurately highlighted Jewish life in those days, expressing the devotion and loyalty of family members toward each other, showing their willingness to sacrifice their own needs in order to help someone in the family that was needier, in any way, while it also showed how grievances sometimes separated them.
Today, that lifestyle is essentially over. Families have dispersed far and wide and are not as close, in most cases, although those in family businesses do manage to sometimes stay in closer contact, but often with far more conflict. It was, in retrospect, a wonderful way of life, but if you didn't live it, the book might not have the same magical impact for you! For me, watching the family deal with what life threw at them was at the heart of the story and the heart of my memories.

  "" by tmurphy (see profile) 10/20/16

  "Two Family House" by Suehobbs (see profile) 10/21/16

It was an enjoyable book with lots of twists and turns. Laughs and sadness and lots of life thinking. Good book.

  "" by lyndafio (see profile) 12/07/16

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 01/13/17

  "Two Family House" by [email protected] (see profile) 01/24/17

A very good, fast read. Lots of discussion about characters and their decisions. A debut novel so less sophisticated writing but a compelling story.

  "" by kfrino (see profile) 01/25/17

  "" by gailgarcia (see profile) 02/24/17

  "People of The Two Family House" by Gardenkeeper29 (see profile) 05/26/17

I had a hard time remembering who was who. Mort or Abe, Rose or Helen

  "" by holawasr (see profile) 06/29/17

  "" by Theilich (see profile) 06/29/17

  "A Two House Family" by books4glo (see profile) 07/05/17

A very good, fast read. Lots of discussion about characters and their decisions. Some of the characters should have been developed more. It was a very compelling story - you guessed the plot from the beginning, however, you felt the sadness and loss of friendship. Good Book Club discussion book.

  "Two Family House" by grannyannie (see profile) 07/29/17

This book was a delight as it brought back wonderful memories of the way we lived in families many, many, years ago.

  "" by Ljwagoner (see profile) 08/19/17

  "The Two Family House" by smiley (see profile) 08/27/17

I enjoyed the book very much. The characters each had differing personalities. It was exciting watching Natalie pull Mort out of his shell. He had been so reluctant to talk with people. Our book group all enjoyed the book and had a lively discussion about the characters and their choices.

  "The Two-Family House" by dorisnoyes (see profile) 09/13/17

Our group had a great discussion and agreed that this book was well worth reading. At times the circumstances seemed a little stretched, but the family dynamics and the character development were real strengths. We agreed that we would be willing to read something else by this author.

  "" by peckhauser (see profile) 03/23/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/16/18

The author did not develop the characters.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/21/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/12/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/15/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 08/26/19

  "" by Hindsnorth (see profile) 09/27/19

Remember me

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).


Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...