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Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 Hardcover – March 28, 2012
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"Moshe Kasher is a comic genius. In his memoir, KASHER IN THE RYE, he is able to perform an act of comedic magic which is reserved only for the true greats, such as Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, and Mitch Hedberg. Kasher's memoir will take you on a dark and hilarious journey of drugs, alcohol, and madness. But, by the time you reach the end of this book, you will be filled with hope and inspiration that even the most vulnerable can find redemption and recovery." --Artie Lange, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Too Fat to Fish
"Out of all the Hip Hop Jewish kids I know with deaf Orthodox parents, Kasher is the funniest. This book is thoughtful, touching, a bit harrowing and hilarious. Don't shy away because his name is Moshe, it's not too 'Jewy'. Emmis." --Marc Maron, comedian and host of the WTF podcast
"Travelling the hard road from teenage addiction to recovery, from lost boy to human being, Moshe Kasher tells it straight. His book over-brims with bravado and heart-breaking awareness, and with an authenticity that rings so true it's shattering. Frank and, above all, funny, this book is a marvel. I couldn't put it down." --M.A.C. Farrant, author of My Turquoise Years & reviewer for Toronto Globe & Mail
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Top Customer Reviews
The title alone was reason enough for me to pick up this book. I first heard of Kasher's memoir by listening to Jesse Thorn's interview with Moshe Kasher on the "Boomerang" radio show. Kasher is such a charismatic personality and gives a hilariously funny interview. All of that combined, that was reason enough for me to shell out money for this book.
Let me start by saying this: this novel has a little something for everyone. As a previous reviewer stated, this book can speak to everyone in some way. For me, this novel will really stand out to anyone whose parents are divorced. He does a great job of capturing what that feels like, growing up in that kind of household. The book doesn't let up. Moshe has a very clear and unique voice that lies somewhere between that of Dave Sedaris (i.e., absolutely crazy and unabashedly honest) and Augusten Burroughs (i.e., somewhat dark at times but equally mad). Kasher does an incredible job of delivering enough development of the core characters and the relevant details of his life. Meanwhile, he points out his own flaws in a loveable and relatable way, even for people who don't have his level of problems.
Put simply, this book will likely not get as much adoration and appreciation that it deserves. It's easily one of the best books I've read in the last year, and it's one of my favorite memoirs of the last decade. I loved it! Please, please do yourself a favor and buy this book!
The reason I am rating this book so highly is that I think it could be today's CATCHER IN THE RYE for troubled teenagers--despite the author having unique issues, the drugs/alcohol and fighting and modern-day outsider-looking-in approach are all things troubled youth can relate to and get some insight from. It's so accessible and funny, they won't realize they are being given a way out until they finish the book.
But those questions are moot. I was already familiar with Kasher, and enjoy his stand-up quite a bit. I find him incredibly intelligent, and very good at subverting what seems like fairly standard, offensive/un-PC humor. And man do I relate to that boy that Moshe Kasher was. I may not have been raised by deaf parents, nor am I Jewish with an ultra-religious father, and I didn't slide as far as Kasher, but I very easily could have, very nearly almost did. Additionally, Kasher is only a couple years older than I am, so a lot of the cultural touchstones mentioned here are the same I experienced. I felt like I was Kasher, or could have been. I knew him. He was just like some of the kids I was hanging with, sharing forties and smoking weed and taking pills. Screwin' up.
It's probably because I related so strongly that I was able to overlook most of the problems of the book, some of which are fairly glaring. The biggest issue is that Kasher doesn't go out of his way to separate his voice from the voice of his 13 through 17 year old selves, so a lot of times he comes across as, well, a dumb kid who is acting out. He says offensive things, and we don't really get much of that intellect that Kasher injects on stage to defuse or flip the obnoxiousness. Still, that's not to say that the book is without insight, and the further you get in to the book, the better it gets. By the end, it's actually quite touching, and I'm not afraid to admit that I teared up quite a bit once Kasher finally found himself and started to heal rather than just numb the pain.
time you reach the end, you would have been on a journey like no other.
The book is somewhat repetitive since he goes in and out of rehab, schools, parties and drug-induced events dozens of times and it all begins to blur together. The best part is the opening when he writes about his childhood.
Once the drugs begin, it begins to sag a bit since there are only so many times you can write about the friends (?) you score drugs with and the friends you fight with and get high with.
And he bottoms out...and then bottoms out again...and then bottoms out again and again...but it's not until he REALLY bottoms out that the "character" really comes alive.
The last 50 pages are remarkable, like clarity, and his awareness of his own life and where he was headed is sobering and also joyous.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great story of a comedian I did not know much about. I had a friend in jr high whose parents were both deaf so this jumped out at me. Read morePublished 3 months ago by raieven
Kasher uses comedy to tell a not-so-funny story. I am totally biased, as I am a big fan of Kasher's stand-up, but I loved this book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mary E Dahlem
Incredible book. I had no idea what a damaged guy he was till I read this. It really makes you look at him in a whole new light. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I saw the author appear in Chelsea Lately years ago and finally got around to reading it. It was a very enjoyable read. The writing is well done, and it moves at a great pace. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Miriam A. Prichard
Easy to read and captivating. Felt a bit repetitive, but it's based on his real life and sometimes we can't escape ourselves at first. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Angelina Howe
Wow. What a compelling story. Growing up fast and living hard and becoming a man that kids and adults can look up to. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer