Arnine Cumsky Weiss is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and a teacher of English as a second language. She has worked in the field of Deafness for over thirty years. She is the author of six books. BECOMING A BAR MITVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES, BECOMING A BAT MITZVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES (University of Scranton Press), THE JEWS OF SCRANTON (Arcadia Publishing), and THE UNDEFEATED (RID Press) and THE CHOICE: CONVERTS TO JUDAISM SHARE THEIR STORIES (University of Scranton Press). Her second novel, SHE AIN’T HEAVY (Academy Chicago)was published in June, 2013. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Weiss and is the mother of Matt, Allie, and Ben.
Visit Arnine’s website at www.ArnineWeiss.com.
1) I wrote my first book Becoming a Bar Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories, inspired by my oldest son surviving cancer.
2) The Idea for my first novel, The Undefeated, was rolling around in my head for 20 years before I wrote it.
3) The title for my newest novel She Ain’t Heavy is a take-off of both a slogan for Boy’s Town and a Hollie’s song.
4) She Ain’t Heavy is dedicated to my mother because she wasn’t heavy.
5) Teddy Warner, the protagonist of She Ain’t Heavy works in a Dunkin’ Donuts. I love DD coffee.
6) I lived in northeastern PA for twenty-five years and both of my novels are partially set there. The mayor came to my launch party for The Undefeated.
7) I’ve worked with deaf children as both a teacher and sign language interpreter for over thirty years.
8) When I moved to NYC, I started to teach English as a second language and GED prep classes to better connect to the city.
9) I saw someone reading She Ain’t Heavy on the subway. I feel like I have arrived.
10) I’m a twin.
About the Book:
Just when counter clerk Teddy Warner is about to be evicted from her Scranton apartment, she bumps into beautiful, brilliant, blond Rachel – her estranged childhood friend whose mother forbid their friendship thinking Teddy was beneath them.
Teddy and Rachel reconnect over hot chocolate and under New Year’s Eve fireworks. Their discussion leads to an invitation. Soon, Teddy’s on her way to Philadelphia, where Rachel is a student, to share an apartment and begin an exciting new life in the City.
Teddy views Rachel as perfect. Rachel can’t bring herself to shatter the image by letting on that she is having an affair with a married man. Just when Teddy is starting to feel at home, Rachel insists on some privacy. Acting out her anger at being asked to stay away, Teddy indulges in a one-night stand.
When Teddy returns to their apartment the next morning, Rachel is being carried out on a stretcher – the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. This unforeseen tragedy leaves Teddy alone in a strange city, with no money, no friends, and no connections.
As Teddy struggles to find her way, she meets a mentor at the same university Rachel previously attended who takes an interest in her, but with strings attached. She also develops a unique bond with the firefighter who rescued Rachel. And yet, Teddy remains committed to helping Rachel get back on her feet, at a time when no one else who supposedly loves her can accept her in this diminished way. Along the way, Teddy discovers her own strength in the roles of caretaker, lover, and friend.