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Fear and Yoga in New Jersey Hardcover – March 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312367252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312367251
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,302,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Galant follows up her colorful debut, Rattled, with another funny suburban family satire. Nina Gettleman's new yoga studio on the swank side of an old, unnamed Essex County town floods when her poorly placed waiting-room chakra-meditation fountain leaks. One of Nina's students threatens to sue, and she's unable to get solace from her husband, Michael, who has been laid off from his job as a meteorologist at Newark Airport. Meanwhile, puberty-age son Adam has decided he's tired of being a lapsed Jew and wants to have a platinum bar mitzvah. The straw that breaks the familial camel's back is the arrival of Nina's hypercritical mother and elderly father, who take refuge in the family's home to escape a Florida hurricane. And then Michael gets into some serious trouble with the law. Galant has a lock on upper-middle–class suburban skewerings and makes ribald fun of overbearing Jewish mothers and terrorism crackdowns gone awry. But loose ends, an overextended midsection, a rushed ending and a protagonist who never really evolves make this sophomore effort fall short of enlightenment. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Debra Galant is the author of Rattled and the creator of the popular blog Baristanet.com. She lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

More About the Author

Former "Jersey" columnist for The New York Times, I'm now editor-in-chief of the Baristanet.com, a local community blog based in northern New Jersey that gets 10,000 visits daily.

My new book, "Cars from a Marriage," comes out April 27.

Customer Reviews

Easy and fast read.
Gobi55
Debra Galant's intricate plot, hilarious characters and witty way with words makes for a seamless novel.
Maryann McFadden
The story keeps up its momentum and I flew right through it.
Kashmere

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BabsD on December 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I grew up in New Jersey and, although I don't live in the there anymore, I remember it well. For me the book tried, in a stale and exaggerated way, to hit the same old targets of over-the-top bat (bar) mitzvahs (self-hating Jew, anyone?), loud and comical Jewish family members, and the same tired and old I May Have Enough Money to Live Here But I Am Not Of Here writing. I will say--worth the second star---that the writer makes everyone ridiculous, too. But the vision of the protagonist, holding a wan bowl of ambrosia at the Unitarian dinner, just doesn't have the same stereotypic sting as the Oy Oy Oy other situations and characters. I understand that it's a satire, but the main character is so incredibly unsympathetic and clueless that any attempts at subtlety, empathy, or understanding are completely squashed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bera on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book only touches very superficially on yoga, read the protagonist is a yoga teacher - but it seems that both the main character and the author know nothing about the philosophy or lifestyle. The book is really about a new jersey housewife who has rebelled her jewish roots and has replaced her family's faith of origin with a bunch of superficial new age beliefs. The sad thing is that the author seems to mock yoga and feng shui but seems herself to know nothing of the subjects she is trying to make fun of. Also, her characters are themselves shallow and irritating so that as a reader i found it very difficult to have any sympathy for them. The plot is full of silly disasters, the snowball into more silly disasters. The characters try to solve these silly disasters with harebrained solutions that sadly aren't even humorous, they are simply neurotic. This is a truly depressing read and not worth the reader's time let alone spending money on. i would give it half a star if i could.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kim D. on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The title grabbed me and then I couldn't put the book down. I read it in 24 hours annoyed whenever I HAD to stop to feed the kids, or walk the dog, or lie to the husband about some money thing.

Great insight into all the characters, male and female, young and old. Lots of good quirky stuff too. I'm sending my husband to Newark Airport with a camera ASAP! I loved it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Hickman on March 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
New Jersey has a lot going for it--beautiful beaches and farms, easy access to New York City and Philadelphia, great shopping malls, pro football, casinos, and Princeton University. New Jersey is the home state of Jerry Lewis; Lauryn Hill; Frank Sinatra; Meryl Streep; Bruce Springsteen; my niece, Sophie and my nephew, Johnny Elvis. Author Debra Galant has written two highly entertaining novels about life in the Garden State: Rattled; and Fear and Yoga in New Jersey. (I haven't read Rattled yet, but I plan to check it out soon.)

Fear and Yoga in New Jersey is about a frazzled yoga instructor who is going through a rough patch. Her husband's job is outsourced to the Phillipines, her son wants to become a Chassid (not that there's anything wrong with that), and her parents flee to her already chaotic home to avoid a Florida hurricane.

Debra Galant is often compared to Florida satirist Carl Hiaasen. Although I could never get through any of Hiaasen's book, I devoured Galant's Fear and Yoga in New Jersey in just one day. To me, Galant is more like an American Fay Weldon (Life and Loves of a She-Devil), or a female Tom Perrotta (Little Children).

If you would like to read more books that take place in New Jersey (and who wouldn't?), check out these titles:

*Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
*Joe College by Tom Perrotta
*Looking for Bobowicz: A Hoboken Chicken Story by Daniel and Jill Pinkwater
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Format: Hardcover
This is a screwball comedy about a family (mom, dad, son, grandma and grandpa) all busy "seeking" something - the thing is, none of them are quite sure what it is.

Nina, the protagonist, owns a posh yoga studio in New Jersey. She tries to be the perfect enlightened yoga instructor (at least to all appearances) when a feng shui consultant wanders in to tell Nina her studio has bad energy - setting off a ripple effect of comedi-tragic events.

As Nina becomes increasingly freaked out by her feng shui worries, her husband loses his job, her normally good son acts out in school and her blustering parents decide to visit. All of this is framed by the increasingly ominous arrival of Hurricane Ida, an ideal metaphor for this family's internal chaos and desperation.

You can taste the sense of squeaky-clean New Jersey suburbia - and understand the price people pay to maintain such outward "perfection." Like many families, Nina's picture perfect outward image isn't built on solid ground.

If you grew up in a family of strong women on the East Coast, there are a lot of recognizable elements here: Nina's own controlling thoughtlessness; Nina's old school, matriarchal overbearing mother; a mellow, slightly cowed, slightly incompetent set of "good provider" husbands; and the quiet son who decides to rebel against the Stepford-perfect ways of his politically-correct, New Age mom by secretly becoming an orthodox Jew.

Each character is cunningly drawn and entirely realistic, even if the series of events is not. There are no heroes, or even villains here (well, except the actually very scary Homeland Security officer).

The resolution offers no nicely packaged answers. Everyone is still a bit messed up.
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