a memoir by Marsha J. Perlman



Taste Life Twice
Cover artwork by Cheryl A. Fausel
international award-winning artist

This book is my evolution from a reticent and acquiescent girl growing up in Brooklyn to an independent and assertive world-traveling educator and author awakened with a sense of self and empowerment.




From the editor of the Pine Island Eagle:

Taste Life Twice is about the life journey of Marsha Perlman who was raised in Brooklyn, NY with a stay-at-home mother, younger brother and a domineering father who spanked his children with his leather belt for small offences. “It didn’t seem to occur to him that I was afraid of him…and I no longer counted on him to protect me.”

Fortunately, Marsha had a 5th grade teacher who realized her potential, made her “teacher’s helper”, gave her responsibilities that other children didn’t have and boosted her self-esteem. “I wonder how different my life would be if Dad praised me once in a while for something I did well,” Perlman wrote. In 6th grade she was editor of the Student Gazette, and two years later her mother covertly signed permission for her to attend High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan where she studied music. By the time she graduated, she was a strong-willed and determined teenager who could stand up to a continually disapproving and emotional father.

At twenty when she graduated from college, she married a well-educated, financially secure, but controlling man. Her first teaching position in Spanish Harlem taught her many lessons. First and foremost “it was the beginning of my adult life. I moved in the direction of increased independence and assertiveness…and expanded my view of the world.”

“My parents raised me to be an educated and subservient woman but the combination was not working for me. I had it all…I hated it all. No longer could I accept my role as a docile follower…”

Behind Fred’s back she applied for and completed graduate school, and later decided to divorce her husband in an era when divorce was uncommon and “family and friends turned their backs on me.” But she supported her three children and herself by teaching and being frugal, and at the same time became active in the many causes of the day. The war in Vietnam was at the top of the 1960s list. She fought for civil rights in the 70s, protested Contra warfare in Nicaragua in the 80s and in recent years Marsha worked to end the American/Cuban embargo and find solutions for the illegal immigration problem.

When her children were all away at universities she decided to teach abroad and applied for a highly competitive merit-based Fulbright grant and was ecstatic when she won. Upon hearing the good news, her father held one final assault, “What are you running away from?” he asked.

“In 2000 I met Gene and surprised myself when I exchanged my comfort zone to spend six months with him on Pine Island, Florida.” Discovering the mangrove trails and retreating into tranquil waters brought a new experience for this big city girl. Paddling inches above “curious manatees and smiling dolphins” was enjoyable and rewarding.

Taste Life Twice is a book about the life journey of Marsha Perlman and her evolution from a restrained, submissive young Brooklyn girl to an independent world-wise woman. Self-empowered, courageous and with perseverance the author overcame obstacles that still haunt her today.

This book is a great read.

~ Ed Franks — Editor, Pine Island Eagle

From a review in the National League of American Pen Woman publication, The American Woman, 2015:

Perlman begins her delightful, meaningful memoir through entrance into her challenging assignment as a British Fulbright instructor. A rollicking adventure driving on the left side of the road in a car purchased for $700.00 lets you know that she is a fearless, funny writer with much to teach others. Her cultural blunders are hilarious but also mindful of how diverse our world really is. How Perlman takes these bumps endures her as a daring emancipated woman.

Her exposition of Jewish family life in New York City, explained in child-like, innocent one sentence paragraphs as a writing technique, was brilliant and underscored how simple life was before today’s instant gratification lifestyle. Perlman’s description of her parents’ rigid culturally-prescribed roles was searing. I could feel the tension rise as her depressed unfulfilled father enters the room. “No mother should allow anyone to punish her children the way he did. She must have been afraid of his anger also. Possibly by keeping quiet she was protecting the three of us (includes Marsha’s younger brother) in the only way she knew.”

Perlman gives voice to the plight of people of color. She not only speaks out, but also puts concern into action by becoming a teacher in deprived schools in Harlem. Here she shows her mettle by performing remarkable risks to empower those with few opportunities.


Marsha’s most heroic change occurs when she rejects the controlling attitude of her alcoholic professor husband who demands “she keep her place as his accessory.” She does not accept his taunts that she ruined his life, but rather she epitomizes a woman of valor, divorcing, teaching in China, working in Nicaragua, becoming an award-winning poet, and loving again. For those of us who have shadowed such a pioneer, indeed this is the book to read.

~ Jody Glittenberg Hinrichs, NLAPW

Excerpts from Readers’ comments:

“This book engaged me intellectually and emotionally; it was a page turner.”

~ Anne Becher, Senior Spanish Instructor, University of Colorado.

“History, travel and nature writing into one amazingly diverse inspiring life. The reader will love the author’s experience with Dr. Martin Luther King, and with the Queen of England.”

~ Lisa Shearer Cooper, educator and author.

“Marsha’s honesty about events and emotions gives the reader the feeling that each of us matters.”

~ Judy Felund, Massage Therapist.

“It takes perseverance and courage as one delves into incidents stored in the memory. Then relives joys and heartaches and examines unanswerable questions. Using compassion she recounts personality shaping incidents that brought Marsha into her own.”

~ Sheilana Massey, D.D., author, Along the Path of Enlightenment

“An exceptional inspiring and thought provoking book for women of all ages.”

~ Lillian Bradley, Lee County librarian.

“Wise, confident and brave to say all the things Marsha felt compelled to put on paper.”

~ Barb Darling, author and spiritual leader.


Buy the book
Amazon - $12.99

Kindle - $5.99

From the author and your local independent book stores.
Spa 33, Matlacha, FL

Island Time, Saint James City, FL
Sandman Books, Punta Gorda, FL
Coppersmith Books, Punta Gorda, FL
Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

When shopping at independent book stores bring
ISBN# 978500713263


click to buy



lotus petal



Email: mjperlman7@q.com



top of page

web design by Loose Links