#ReadWithMayim: White Walls, by Judy Batalion

Our new virtual book club book: a humor- and heart-filled memoir
By Esther D. Kustanowitz  Published on 01/26/2016 at 12:01 AM EDT

We’re pleased to announce the next book for our GrokNation Virtual Book Club – White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between, a memoir by Judy Batalion.

According to Judy’s website, White Walls is “a tale of hoarding and healing, home and the Holocaust, and many other things that begin with H.” (Yes, humor is one of those.) The memoir reflects on the author’s childhood, and her experiences growing up with a hoarder mother, and how her mother’s mental illness affected her at various points in her life, especially when she became an adult, and eventually a mother herself. Check out the following description from the site:

Judy Batalion grew up in a house filled with endless piles of junk and layers of crumbs and dust; suffocated by tuna fish cans, old papers and magazines, swivel chairs, tea bags, clocks, cameras, printers, VHS tapes, ballpoint pens…obsessively gathered and stored by her hoarder mother. The first chance she had, she escaped the clutter to create a new identity—one made of order, regimen, and clean white walls. Until, one day, she found herself enmeshed in life’s biggest chaos: motherhood.

We’re thrilled to be reading this book for a number of reasons. We will give you five:

  1. Judy Batalion is a talented writer who balances the ups and downs, shares humor and heartbreak. Her sentences are beautiful: sometimes emotional, sometimes making you laugh out loud.
  2. Cartoon Judy wears glasses! (And so does real-life Judy.)

    Graphic from
  3. In the book, Judy talks about the impact of her family and Jewish upbringing, especially her relationship with her grandmother.
  4. The book is brand-new! It was just published at the beginning of January. This means we are probably the first book club – virtual or real-life – to choose this book to read. And we’ll be bringing you inside scoop about the book: a Q & A with the author and opportunities to share questions and comments with each other as you read. So stay tuned!
  5. This is the first book that Mayim and Grokites will all be reading at the same time! So now you can #readwithMayim (you can get it at your local bookstore, or use this handy Amazon link)!

Looking forward to reading along with you as we all #readwithMayim!

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