Reviewed by Poppy J.

To Have Not is Frances Lefkowitz’s journey towards the realization that the world, and how we get along in it, is not always divided up in a fair exchange. The fact is, at any given time in our lives, someone else will always be better off than we are, and it is easy to ignore anyone not as well off as we profess to be.

Lefkowitz gets it. Poverty (or not having an abundantly enriched material existence) is both a state of mind and a condition. It can also be a choice, which happens more often than people believe. Growing up, Lefkowitz realized that her parents scoffed at developing a competitive edge, initiating an entrepreneurial spirit or even trying harder – all because they may not have believed that their efforts would have worked (to achieve some monetary goal). If the brain does what you tell it to do, and you keep reinforcing that all is lost, give up, don’t try, you will eventually be rewarded with that subliminal wish to not succeed.

To Have Not begins with the author’s childhood and moves through to her adult life, encompassing her family relationships and teaching jobs. There are a few love interests highlighted, but more time is spent on the author’s perceptions and personal actions regarding what she did or did not possess, and how these realizations affect her to this day.

I strongly encourage others to read To Have Not. Anyone who has experienced a “guilty pleasure” knows what Lefkowitz is getting at with this story. I’d guess that she looked in the mirror growing up and saw someone who was missing out on life based on dreams that she felt could never come true. Later on, she might have seen in the mirror a woman who understood her limits, but made the decision not to accept them as her own prison – she found freedom in the journey.

I personally was able to relate to each section of this memoir, and I think that many readers will feel the same way. Who decides what we are worth? Some say it’s whether others deem you famous or consider you to  be part of the wealthy class of individuals in our country. Others note a poor person can be “rich” or well known, so which one is the truth?

If you read To Have Not, put it down and start asking yourself the tough questions. If you read the story and have no opinion as to how your own early experiences have shaped your opinion on “the have nots,” pick up this book and read it again.

Please visit Frances Lefkowitz’s website to learn more!

Rating: 5/5

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by BookSparkPR. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.