E156 Midlife Profile: Hannah Brown – The Manhattan Effect

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This episode feels like two interviews rolled into one.

Experience 50 E156 Hannah BrownWoody Allen’s Manhattan celebrates 40th anniversary

Hannah Brown, 56, joins me from her home office in Isreal to discuss the 40th anniversary of Woody Allen’s 1979 movie Manhattan which is most remembered for the sexual relationship between the older Allen and the very young Marielle Hemingway. Hannah published an article reflecting on the relationship through the lens of our 2019 culture. While writing the piece and through the feedback that she received in response to it, she came to some very interesting observations.

When Hannah reached out to me and asked me to read her article, it was eerily coincidental with a theme that had been on my mind regarding the phenomena of the late 1970s/early 80s of older men dating teenage girls within a very accepting climate.

Hannah and I began an email friendship over a couple of weeks discussing the movie roles of young girls acting like very mature women in Manhattan as well as Pretty Baby and Taxi Driver. I look forward to your comments and hope that you will share what you recall from that period.

Hannah Brown’s own midlife transition

Hannah also shares her own midlife experience of transition as she and her ex-husband made the decision five years ago to place their 18-year-old autistic son in a residential program. She shares the story making the decision to acclimate her son to living independently from her during a time when his life was stable and otherwise predictable – not in a time of urgency or chaos should something happen to her.

I have always been interested in how the parents of adult special needs children make preparations for their kids to live after they have passed on. Hannah is beautifully honest in sharing her story of parenting a kid who is different- a kid who will never be able to live on his own without supervision and assistance.

We also talk about her Modern Love column in the New York Times, “Devoted but Dateless” which reveals the reality which faces single mothers with autistic children. Her book, If I Could Tell You, is a fictional tale of four women who each have a child with autism.

Hannah Brown Bio:

Hannah Brown’s novel, If I Could Tell You, about families raising children with autism, was an Amazon bestseller. She is the movie and television critic for the Jerusalem Post and she used to be a movie critic for the New York Post. She has written for many publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Jewish Quarterly, Next Tribe, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Beast. Her short stories have appeared in Commentary, the Jerusalem Post and Short Story Quarterly, as well as the anthologies, Israel Short Stories, Love in Israel and Tel Aviv Stories 2. She works as a script editor for Israeli directors, including Eytan Fox and Avi Nesher. She has a son with autism and often writes about issues related to special needs.


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