The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green
New Trade Paper
0 stars -
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"A witty, sensitive boy observes the darkly humorous goings-on in his Orthodox Jewish family in 1970s New Jersey. Jacob Green idolizes his older brother, Asher, and misses his withdrawn mother, Claire, but his father, the charismatic, tyrannical Abram, dominates the family. At 10, Jacob's unthinkable sin of forgetting to wear his tzitzit to yeshiva sets off an amusing chain of events — Asher's scheming to trick the rabbi, the destruction of the rabbi's tzitzit and Jacob's suspension — that quickly turns sober when Jacob faces his father's rage. At 13, Jacob lives in a state of anxiety — his learning disability and his father's resulting disappointment erode his confidence; Asher withdraws into adolescence; his mother flees the house to pursue a Ph.D. and another man. Jacob would love to rebel (he's got 'a father so far up my ass you can see him performing in my pupils'), but mostly he mentally rewrites his bar mitzvah thank-yous as rants and fantasizes about his live-in babysitter, Megan. When Claire and Abram divorce and Megan moves out, Jacob conveys his angst through a series of letters addressed to Megan. By the time he's 15, Jacob is painfully lonely, as he shuttles between his father's oppressiveness and his mother's honeymooning obliviousness. Although Jacob is a likable, funny narrator, his keen observation and vibrant imagination falter under the weight of Abram's presence and Claire's absence. Agent, Sonia Pabley. (Sept. 10)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Scarifyingly funny debut limns a suburban boy's struggle to cope with the Jewish Father from Hell....Painfully honest and surprisingly compassionate. Compulsively readable, in a horrifying sort of way."
A hilarious and heartbreaking novel about the unreasonable expectations a narcissistic father places on his less-than-perfect son.
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