CHICAGO: After a grueling and dramatic escape from occupied Poland in 1939, eight-year-old Julian and his mother arrive penniless in America in 1941 with big plans. Julian’s beautiful, former socialite mother Barbara wants to regain her former social status, while Julian just wants to fit his war-ravaged psyche into the American way of life. As Barbara climbs her social ladder, she succeeds in opening doors for herself but, in the process, slams shut the doors of opportunity for her son.
The story of an insecure, war damaged kid plopped into the American way of life, When the Diamonds Were Gone (Academy Chicago Publishers; July 2015) tells of the thirteen years Julian Padowicz spent struggling to catch up to his American peers while trying to live up to his overachieving mother’s demands. Emotionally unprepared for the testosterone of an all-boys boarding school, Julian finds himself coping with a covey of developmental issues, raging hormones, and trials at dating. His attempts at being morally correct towards “colored people,” becoming a “name” on campus, coping with his private “Jewish problem,” and expressing his creativity all become more difficult as his mother tries to make him conform to her vision of a son. When his mother remarries and moves to Peru, she leaves an adolescent Julian behind with his aunt and uncle, returning periodically to bribe him into having a nose job like she did. Despite his mother, Julian manages to triumph over his insecurities and becomes a man who finds his own American dream, making friends, falling in love, graduating college, getting married, and later becoming a Hollywood screenwriter and author.
Meet the Author
JULIAN PADOWICZ is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker. He is the author of The Best Sunset in Venice; Escaping the Holocaust; Loves of Yulian; Mother and Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939, which won ForeWord magazine’s Book of the Year award in 2006; A Ship in the Harbor; and Writer’s Block. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut with his wife.