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Jew Boy: A Memoir by Alan Kaufman

Jew Boy: A Memoir

by Alan Kaufman

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Part 1 Tales of Childhood:
The Audition: A sad story of physical and emotional abuse at his mother's hands. A poor family and a mother tormented by her past terror as a survivor of the Holocaust.

The Purple Jew: A funny account of the author's attempt at writing a comic strip called The Purple Jew and his attempt to collect rare comics to one day make him wealthy. Funny and sad at the same time. His angry mother foiled his attempts when she destroyed his comic collection.

Asthma: A recollection of beatings, fantasies, asthma, and the day he was given an injection of adrenaline.

The Death of JFK: A hilarious look at the mind of children during this historical event contrasted by the adult's sorrow and shock.

Dry Goods: The author's mother in debt to the dry goods salesman and his attempt to protect her from embarassment.

Scum: A hilarious account of the author's first sexual self-satisfaction episodes and wet dreams. I learned a lot in this chapter about what it's like for a boy to feel these things and how that evolves.

Bar Mitzvah: The study for Bar Mitzvah, the unhappy shopping trip for a suit, the let down once again of not having a *special* day that other kids take for granted. His realization that he loves his family despite their faults, and there are many of those.

Part 1 was a *can't put it down* book but I wasn't impressed by the following chapters. It was too drawn out and poorly edited. There didn't seem to be really any point to it other than thanking his friend who helped him stop drinking eventually.
Part 1 was sad, funny, frightening, surprising, descriptive, and more. The author had a wonderful way of making the events come alive as though you were there.

I wanted to give Alan Kaufman a hug :)
1 vote BookAddict | Apr 1, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0880642521, Hardcover)

Alan Kaufman grew up in the Bronx, the son of a Jewish mother who had survived the Holocaust, her mind badly scarred by her trauma. Growing up under the shadow of his mother's demons, he struggles uncomprehendingly with his Jewish identity, vowing never to become a victim like his mother. In a great bid for freedom from her legacy, he hitchhikes across the U.S. only to summon the phantoms he had sought to escape. His flight, after taking him to a kibbutz in Israel and the Israeli army, returns him to the streets of New York, homeless and an alcoholic, until at last he finds redemption in poetry, the gift that is true to his being.

Kaufman’s authentically American voice, with its headlong energy, joy, and sensitivity, calls to mind the best of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller. “Jew Boy” touches on themes rarely explored in American writing — the pain, guilt, and confusion of American-born children of Holocaust survivors. But above all it burns with the universal humanity of a brilliant writer embracing the gift of life. “Jew Boy”’s fierce passion will leave no reader untouched.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:20 -0400)

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