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Forgery of the Month Club a memoir

259 pages4 hours


Keith Alexander’s mother was a Jewish woman from the Midwest who taught him early on that getting a job was not necessary. His father, a married African-American lawyer who was born in Mississippi, was cold and unapproachable. As Keith grew up, he and his sister watched their mother prove her point about making a living on the fringes of society. A single parent, Anita Alexander supported her two biracial children by stealing and forging.
The story is set in Chicago – but far from the South Side which had so many black residents that it was commonly known as Bronzeville. Keith was raised a Jew in a white, liberal community and, until he was a teenager, didn’t have relationships with any black people. He assumed that all African Americans were like his father and, understandably, was not eager to meet any others.
Considered intelligent but undisciplined by school officials, Keith nevertheless made good grades. However, by the age of eight years old, he had also become a thief. Over the next dozen years, Keith shirked opportunities in the square world, and instead tried to follow in his mother’s footsteps even as his sister, Lin, moved further away from both of them.
Eventually, Lin is accepted into the University of Chicago which leaves Keith alone with his mom. The two of them work together in schemes that range from eccentric (a castle built in their backyard and a human powered flying machine) to felonious (buying houses by giving the bank forged documents).
Then Keith falls in love and, rather than lose his future wife, he decides to go straight.

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