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The Praise

Praise for Just Lassen to Me! – Book One: Survivor Indoctrination


Harvy’s exquisite novel-like prose is a remarkable story of his quest and struggles to unlive his father’s dreams.  With unbridled candor, recall and penetrating self-reflection, he shares his story suitable for a screenplay on the rewards and tortures of family enterprise.

—Paul Karofsky, Executive Director Emeritus Northeastern University Center for Family Business, family enterprise consultant, and co-author of So You’re in the Family Business: A Guide to Sustainability.


Harvy brilliantly describes the seesaw tension created by the joy and privilege of sharing in a wealthy father’s favor and fortune, while bearing the burden of his dad’s financial secrets that only he knows. He writes a powerful, candidly written account of his family’s complex and turbulent history, and his father’s financial finagling, that will resonate with all readers who suffer the psychological costs of frightening family dysfunctions. Harvy’s journey of personal struggle and seeking redemption will resonate with readers from all walks of life.

—William J. Hurley, former District School Board Chair, retired Superintendent of Schools and School Principal, former Graduate School Instructor, Educational Leadership Consultant and School Psychologist.


The mystic poet Rumi asked this: “And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” Harvy Simkovits has begun his journey inward, reviewing the ways his larger-than-life father shaped him, and reflecting on the damage done by family secrets. His writing poses the questions many of us ask as we move into adulthood and authenticity: How have family stories and struggles shaped my inner struggles? How do I love my family and be free to become my authentic self? This book can serve as a model for anyone embarking on that journey of self-reflection and personal growth.

—The Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, Executive Director and Senior Minister, The Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry.


Harvy’s work is remarkable. He shows courage by plumbing the depths of his family secrets, revealing how his upbringing caused him to shape, even twist himself to survive his family. It’s clear that this memoir is an act of self-healing, a coming to terms with a past, in a way that helps make peace with where one has been and currently is.  This story will resonate particularly with people who are digging themselves out of tumultuous histories.  It’s a story of redemption, of finding value in the struggles that life has given you.  I marvel at the effort Harvy has put into it and admire what he has accomplished.

—Jay Vogt, Founder of Peoplesworth, and Author of Recharge Your Team: The Grounded Visioning Approach.


The second son in an immigrant family, young Harvy Simkovits grew up in Canada. Harvy was his flamboyant father’s favored child and confidant. How this thoughtful, yet naïve, young man reconciles his love of—and admiration for—his Dad with the unwanted knowledge of his father’s wild life and shady business dealings, makes for fascinating reading and results in a heroic twist.

—Audrey Friedman Marcus, former Executive Vice President of A.R.E. Publishing, Inc., and author of Survival in Shanghai: The Journals of Fred Marcus 1939-49.


“Just Lassen to Me!” is an engaging, touching and very personal memoir of growing up navigating the complex relationships in an Eastern European immigrant family. Harvy Simkovits’ father is a survivor of service in four armies on both sides of World War II. He also escaped beneath the Iron Curtain with his Hungarian wife to a new life in Montreal. Dad becomes a successful businessman and pulls young Harvy into an orbit of sometimes-shady deals and family conflicts.  Harvy’s entertaining story has twists and turns, including a fascinating revelation from his mother.

—Walter Leutz, Professor, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University.


Harvy’s tale, remarkable and so interesting, feels very real—as if you were right there living it with him. The stories about his father, mother, and their families are so incredible; one could not make it up. The characters are bigger than life with all of their warts. They are believable, lovable (for the most part), even with their sad or tragic flaws. The story of his mother’s family survival and success is amazing. I could picture the situations he narrates as if I had been there myself.

—Jim Bourdon, Former Founder, Owner, and President of AMS, Former Board Member of Small Business Association of NE.


Harvy’s memoir is extremely well written and astonishing in its detail about events, places, and people going back so many years to his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. This effort is an important vehicle for liberating himself and confirming his integrity and decency. It’s an extraordinary telling of a highly personal and complex journey.

—Calvin Melmed, BSc., MD, FRCP(C), FAAN. Emeritus Chief, Dept of Neurological Sciences, Jewish General Hospital. Associate Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University; and Carolyn Melmed, BA, Cert Ed., Cert Conflict Resolution and Mediation.


A truly fascinating story about a unique and colorful immigrant father, an immigrant mother with deep secrets, and the powerful impact they had on their son. It’s a wonderful story and honest!

—John Levine, Chairman, and CEO, Pinsly Railroad Company.


In Harvy Simkovits’ memoir of his complicated father, the son has assembled the weight of memories to impress upon the reader the stamp of this forceful man he loved and endured. Simkovits unknots the kinks of this big-hearted swindler, affectionate brawler, chivalrous womanizer, and solicitous browbeater with panache. The author’s searing honesty about his complicity as a potential beneficiary of the shenanigans of this tax-evading, deal-cutting entrepreneur makes for an extraordinarily fascinating memoir. It is as much about the son’s struggle to uncouple from the sin and resolve the guilt as it is about a freewheeling father who could very well be the protagonist of a Canadian immigrant version of Mad Men.

—Tom Daley, author of House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems and instructor in memoir writing at Lexington Community Education.


Praise for Just Lassen to Me! – Book Two: Survivor Teachings


Though this book series is a memoir, taken from real life events and conversations, it could easily have been a novel, made up of characters and stories shaped by the author to be so real. You can’t wait for the next page, the next chapter. The patriarch, Johnny Simkovits, is a sly, ruthless, and often beyond-the-law businessman who strives to become somebody in his world thru his financial successes. He is practically willing to leave his family behind to support his live-for-today ways. Our narrator, Harvy, Johnny’s second son, desperately wants his father’s approval, and he closes his eyes to his father’s shenanigans so that he can obtain his Dad’s love and approval.  The many characters in this intimate and warmly written tale may come and go, yet each feels real and complete. If this book were written for TV, it would be a much-watched program. It is written with such warmth, so much honesty and affection, that the reader cannot but hope that our narrator Harvy may someday feel his father’s love.

Steve Shama, MD, MPH, Retired Physician, Professional Speaker on topics of empathetic communications, Former Board of Trustees member of the Creative Education Foundation.


Harvy effortlessly weaves together his role in the growth and development of his father’s business with his growing awareness of his large-living father’s questionable practices. With candor and poignancy, Harvy writes of his struggles to find himself, caught as he is between a desire to please his charismatic, double-dealing, womanizing father by looking the other way, and his distress over the unhappiness of his neglected and ultimately abandoned mother, brought about by that same father. Further complicating his life is his conflicted relationship with his volatile older brother, who deals with their father’s forceful personality with anger and defiance. In the end, amidst all the clamor and angst of his family, Harvy must choose between standing up for what he knows to be right with the painful certainty he will lose his father’s favor or live his life dragged through the wake of the full-throttle passageway of his scheming father.  A terrific read!

Pamela Moriarty, author of What Happened to My Mother: A Story of Family, War, and Reconciliation.


A well-written book that is difficult to put down. Character development is excellent, enabling the reader to get to know each of the principals intimately in the story.

Dave Ehlke, Founder and Former Owner/CEO, Geek Housecalls


Harvy Simkovits masterfully captured the reality and dynamic tension that can exist between love and shame, respect and disappointment, in his honest, moving, and deeply introspective book, “Just Lassen to Me.” The creative weaving of family ties, history, emotions and thought creates a web into which the reader is captured both by fascination and unavoidable personal inquiry. This book is indeed a dedication to the story that exists in all of us. Bravo!”

Robert J. Broudo, M.Ed., President and Headmaster, Landmark School


There are no saints in the second volume of Harvy Simkovits’ memoir series, Just Lassen to Me! Rather, there is a group of fascinatingly flawed relatives, friends, and employees orbiting around Harvy’s charismatic and corrupt father, Johnny. The candor and detail with which Harvy portrays his participation in his father’s wheeling and dealing and ultimate disavowal of it are truly memorable. In Harvy’s Book 2: Survivor Teachings, he weaves a complicated and compelling story.

Marion Kilson, Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University, retired Dean of the Graduate School at Salem State University.


With uncompromising candor and wonderful cinematic detail, Harvy Simkovits has written a powerful memoir of culture, character, family dynamics, triumph, and trauma. In Just Lassen to Me, Book One, the author views his father—at once brilliant and generous, and cruel and deeply flawed—through the eyes of a boy, teen, young man, and mature man. Book Two is a deeper dive into Harvy’s journey toward adulthood and the often conflicting agendas of success, his father’s approval, self-preservation, and healing his family, body, and psyche. I feel deeply moved, as many will be, by this story of uncommon courage through pain toward truth and personal integrity.

Lawrence Peltz MD, Psychiatrist, author of The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery—a practical guide to regaining control over your life.