Top positive review
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You don't have to be Jewish ....
on March 30, 2008
I am not Jewish, yet I enjoyed Adam Mansbach's moving multi-genererational novel immensely, and so, I suspect, will you. Certainly the novel is laced with references to Jewish customs, traditions, and even dishes (noodle kugel, anyone?), and it deals partly with the complex relationships between Jews and blacks. But ultimately the book is less about being Jewish than about being human. It is about closeness and aloofness. It is about what marriage does and doesn't accomplish. It is about friends and family and how difficult it sometimes is to extricate yourself from situations caused by those nearest to you. There is sadness and tension (and a modicum of sex), but there is also humor, and a chapter in which grandfather and grandson go on a graffiti expedition is simply a howl. In the end, you will find that it doesn't matter whether the characters are Jewish or Swedish or Brazilian or Martian: They and their hopes, dreams, and disappointments will linger long in your memory.