Birth of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" author, Joanne Greenberg

September 24, 1932

Author Joanne Greenberg was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 24, 1932. Often writing under the pseudonym Hannah Green, Greenberg has written 13 novels and four collections of short stories. Her first book, The King's Persons, published in 1963, focused on the massacre of the Jews of York in 1190 and won an award from the Jewish Book Council of America. Her best-known book, published a year later, was I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Later developed into a film and a play, the best-selling Rose Garden offered a semi-autobiographical account of a young teenage girl's struggle with mental illness and the psychoanalytic treatment that restores her to the world.

Greenberg is a graduate of American University where she studied English and anthropology. After her husband began working as a vocational rehabilitation counselor with deaf patients, Greenberg became interested in sign language and the deaf. She has since worked to create mental health programs for the deaf in hospitals throughout the country. Her novel In This Sign (1970) provides an intimate look at the life and frustrations of a deaf person living in a hearing world.

Greenberg lives in Colorado, where she teaches a popular course on creative writing at the Colorado School of Mines. She also tutors Latin and Hebrew and is active in the Beth Evergreen congregation. Greenberg continues to write and speak at schools, libraries, and book clubs. Her recent works include Appearances (2006) and Miri, Who Charms (2009).

Sources: www.narpa.org/greenberg.htm; www.mines.edu/Fac_staff/ senate/ dist_lecture/ greenberg_bio.shtml; www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4271351; pplofthebook.blogspot.com/ 2005/ 01/ kings-persons-by-joanne-greenberg.html.

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I wish that this book didn’t exist, but the author seemed to have good intentions. It was brilliantly written. People have to understand that Jewish females aren’t all suffering from schizophrenia. I have chronic insomnia starting at the age of twenty. I went to a cardiologist. Someone mentioned that there are people who have trouble sleeping because of abnormally fast heartbeats. I have heard nonJewish people talk about this book. The majority of us who are female Jews are extremely nothing like the character, Debra in the book. I take this book as an insult. Recently, I was interested in romance writing. This goes to prove that us Jews are not alike at all. I feel like us Jewish people are the most stereotyped people in the world. I was hospitalized for insomnia. No one can force themselves to stay awake for ridiculous amounts of time. The only human health problem which can’t be faked or malingerer is chronic insomnia. I was known to toss and turn in bed for many nights so I don’t know.

Joanne Greenberg's latest novel is _Miri,Who Charms_ (Montemayor Press, 2009). This deceptively simple novel received little attention in the press, but lingers with its readers. Waiting to learn whether her friend's young daughter can be saved from a cave exploration, Miri's friend Rachel reviews their friendship from it beginnings as they transgressed Shabbat boundaries in Denver's Orthodox neighborhoods, and contemplates unwitting betrayal and its consequences.

I am working on a critical study of Greenberg's fiction, and would be delighted to hear from other readers of her work. Gail Sherman Professor, English and Humanities Reed College Portland OR 97202 gail.sherman@reed.edu

Joanne Greenberg's bestselling I Never Promised You a Rose Garden offered a semi-autobiographical account of a young teenage girl's struggle with mental illness and the psychoanalytic treatment that restores her to the world.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Birth of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" author, Joanne Greenberg." (Viewed on October 28, 2021) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/sep/24/1932/joanne-greenberg>.

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