Thursday, December 17, 2009
Book Review of Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish: The Heeb Storytelling Collection edited by Shana Liebman
Adapted from Heeb magazine's popular storytelling series, the stories in Sex, Drugs, and Gefilte Fish range from sentimental to strange, vulgar to virtuous, and give an honest and humorous examination of what "Jewishness" means to some of this generation's leading writers, comedians, actors, artists and musicians.
With close to fifty humorous, self-reflective, and angst-ridden tales, this collection has a little something for everyone, including a mentally unstable stalker from New Jersey and an ill-tempered and heartbroken Bigfoot.
Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish captures a unique moment in time for a generation of Jews who have lost their ties with traditional Jewish life, but still consider themselves Jewish. Nevertheless, it's a book that will appeal not only to young, hip Jews, but to anyone who shares its bawdy and irreverent take on traditional and secular life.
While I was excited to review Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish, I was a bit worried that I wouldn't fully appreciate the humor or the nuances of the writing. I found the book thoroughly entertaining, even though I'm not Jewish. The book is divided into six parts: Sex, Drugs, Work, Youth, Family, and Body & Soul. Each part has from six to twelve short stories, each by a different author. The stories of young love, awkward encounters, and self-discovery are sometimes touching, often hilarious, and fun.
The stories aren't connected, so you can start with any story. You'll likely not be able to stop at one. I would read at least three or four at a sitting. No doubt the stories would be even more enjoyable to someone fully familiar with the culture and religion.
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 26, 2009), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Thank you so much to Brianna and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!