New York City
May 13,1938–April 25,1989
Mom, the Wolf Man and Me
Norma Klein tackles often controversial topics in her young adult novels. A perceptive writer, she describes what it is like to share close friendships and face the problems of growing up. Many of her main characters come from liberal, upper-class, urban backgrounds.
Klein grew up in Manhattan. She attended Cornell University, Barnard College, and Columbia University. She married Erwin Fleissner, a biochemist, in 1963. They have two children.
The daughter of a psychoanalyst, Klein was raised under her parents' liberal political beliefs, their love of literature and music, and their preference for Freud over God. She and her younger brother underwent psychoanalysis involuntarily as children, then voluntarily as adults. After her father died, Klein said she came to reject much of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.
Klein's first short story was accepted for publication when she was nineteen. She devoted her full energies to writing, though she took time off to earn a master's degree in Slavic languages and to give birth to a daughter in 1967.
She initially wrote children's books, but her agent urged her to try young adult novels. Mom, the Wolf Man and Me was her first effort. She said she has often been compared with writer Judy Blume.
“I feel my own YA novels are much more akin to Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye,” she said in Authors & Artists for Young Adults. “They are about the last two years of high school or, increasingly, college, and the anxieties are about what profession one will enter,