“The Inventors: A Memoir” by Peter Selgin— The Need to Feel Special

the inventors

Selgin, Peter. “The Inventors: A Memoir”, Hawthorne Books, 2016.

The Need to Feel Special

Amos Lassen

When Peter Selgin began the eighth grade in 1970, he fell in love with a teacher who came to the United States who had a passion for students. Peter was looking for love and respect. His father, an inventor, was emotionally distant and Peter had to vie with his twin brother for affection and attention. Peter needed to feel special and that is what he got from the teacher.

Peter and that teacher spent a great deal of time together at the teacher’s carriage house home. But then the teacher resigned suddenly but they corresponded for some ten years and met once in a while. It was not until that teacher died that Peter learned that he had been hiding from his past and often identified himself with lies such as being a Native American or even a Rhodes scholar.

With his father’s death, Peter learned that the inventor had been born the son of Italian Jews while he understood and his father like his teacher was an inventor who manufactured myths and who betrayed the trust of those who looked up to them. This is the story of a man and his search for his father and his own personal relationship with his teacher—-two mysterious people that shaped Peter’s journey to manhood and it is the story of promises, both kept and broken that Peter came across in learning about himself. Peter also became an inventor. It is a memoir that is both beautiful and disturbing— a meditation on life, love , truth and fiction.


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