Synopses & Reviews
Avi Steinberg is stumped. After defecting from yeshiva to attend Harvard, he has nothing but a senior thesis on Bugs Bunny to show for himself. While his friends and classmates advance in the world, Steinberg remains stuck at a crossroads, his “romantic” existence as a freelance obituary writer no longer cutting it.
Seeking direction (and dental insurance) Steinberg takes a job running the library counter at a Boston prison. He is quickly drawn into the community of outcasts that forms among his bookshelves—an assortment of quirky regulars, including con men, pimps, minor prophets, even ghosts—all searching for the perfect book and a connection to the outside world. Steinberg recounts their daily dramas with heartbreak and humor in this one-of-a-kind memoir—a piercing exploration of prison culture and an entertaining tale of one young man’s earnest attempt to find his place in the world.
"cidly funny....As involving, and as layered, as a good coming-of-age novel....Steinberg proves to be a keen observer, and a morally serious one. His memoir is wriggling and alive." The New York Times
"A terrific book....There’s plenty of humor here, for sure, but Steinberg, in tender, understated prose, also brings out the inmates’ irrepressible humanity." San Francisco Chronicle
"I haven’t laughed this hard since David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day." Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Avi Steinberg was born in Jerusalem and raised in Cleveland and Boston. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times Magazine, Salon, and other publications.