“Lost in Yonkers” Book Cover. Photo taken by Valeria Gomez

Valeria Gomez, Book Reviews Editor

I don’t generally read plays because they can often be dull or confusing. I also prefer to read novels because I enjoy creating the scenery and people on my own. However, I decided to read Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon over this spring break because a friend gave me the book. I was actually pretty interested in the play. Though it was very simple and short, it was still enjoyable. The play starts off with two brothers complaining about visiting their grandmother. They are eventually told the importance of the visit: their father, Eddie, is in debt after the medical expenses that went into the care of their now deceased mother. Eddie has to leave his children with his mother in order to gather some money before the situation worsens. Though the boys are reluctant to the idea at first, they realize it is a small sacrifice to make. The rest of the novel tells how life is living with their grandmother, uncovering some family tragedies and secrets along the way.

I thought the novel was very emotional for something so short. There is so much tragedy in the lives of the characters, which can all be traced to the grandmother. She is a very strict woman and doesn’t seem to care about her family. She claims everything she did to her children was to make them tougher, but this only seems to be an excuse. She damaged her children to the point where they are afraid of her. One of her daughters, Gert, even has trouble breathing because she would put a pillow above her head and take small breathes to prevent any disturbance to her mother. I found this play to be a sort of PDA for children and parents. It showed the negative effects of unhealthy relationships and growing up with unkind parents. Eddie had to beg his mother to take in the boys before he left, showing how little Grandma cares. The grandmother was selfish and she didn’t need to be so cruel. There is a difference between being a strict parent and a cruel one. The grandmother was a lot more cold-blooded.

I enjoyed reading the play, though it was very short. There were also a couple of unanswered questions I had at the end of the play, which bothered me a bit. However, I would still recommend Lost in Yonkers because it is such a quick play to read. I also read Hamlet over the break, and Lost in Yonkers was a pleasant departure from Shakespeare’s writing.