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As the Matzo Ball Turns Paperback – March 20, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

As an occasional customer of Rothstein's and the deli featured in As the Matzo Ball Turns, I found this book to be disturbingly fascinating along with punch-you-in-the-stomach funny. --Vincent Spano, Actor/Director (Alive, Oscar, Rumblefish)

As the Matzo Ball Turns is Day of the Locust with a side order of noodle kugel. It is a gonzo ten-year journey--in turns side-splittingly funny and heart wrenchingly sad--into the dark heart of the entertainment and restaurant business, seen through the jaundiced eyes of an aspiring actor turned waiter. This memoir will be chicken soup for the soul for anyone, anywhere, who has ever asked the eternal question, "Lord, how long must I wait?" --Robert Wallace, Former Editor, Rolling Stone Magazine

Rothstein's inside perspective of the harsh reality of pursuit intrinsic to the acting profession sheds a light on the dark side of Hollywood... frightening, harrowing, and with humor. --Deborah Miller, Hollywood Talent Agent/Manager
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Book Publishers Network; 1 edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193745424X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937454241
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,913,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be primary reading for those with stars in their eyes heading to Hollywood. It's got some of the best stories and tales of woe I've heard in some time and was such a fun read!

Jozef Rothstein smacks the Matzo ball out of the park with plenty of wit, grit and hilarity of the "in and out" celebrity crowd he encountered while waiting tables in a famous restaurant. It also details his travails during acting auditions, acting lessons and the strange hangers-on and bottom-of-the-barrel types in agents and managers. And that's only half of it. At the same time, he's flogging his screenplays around town and finds lots of success - for the other guy! [Has an interesting and compelling story about a certain studio which he claims ripped off his idea].

The best part of this book, to me at least, is in finding out (through his clues) that the restaurant he worked was one I frequented almost daily. And in that, I could figure out who some of the characters are that he mentions. This was a personal bit of fun for me, as he is spot-on with some of his wackier co-workers and customers.

Whether entering show business, hip deep in it or one who simply enjoys a humorous take on celebrity culture, Rothstein's adventures in La-La-Land will reward you.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to this, but got as far as 2/3 of the way through this book before becoming exasperated and skimming to the end. While about half the jokes landed, half did not for me, and I certainly tired of reading clichés. I also found much in the chapters about working with homosexuals and serving people with mental illness to be insensitive and even cruel at times, which was anything but funny. While the book was loosely structured on the basis of the categories of people the author encountered in his labors (colleagues, celebrities, people with mental illness, etc.), there was no real arc to it and it ended up being a compendium of anecdotes where everyone else comes across as an idiot and the writer consistently comes out smelling like a rose. His heavy-handed right-wing commentary also grew tiresome. Try Studs Terkel's book 'Working' if you really want the inside track on what people think about their jobs.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"As the Motzo Ball Turns" is a funny, insightful and a fascinating window into one mans journey to make it in the den of evil we know as Hollywood. It is absolutely hilarious, the author is incredibly talented to be able to create humour out of his experiences that at times were disappointing. His amazing recall as a waiter in a Jewish deli included his daily encounters with many infamous people,crazy customers and colorful co-workers that had me laughing for hours! It is the unexpected combination of witty and realistic humanity that makes this book endearing. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. I am hoping for a sequel!! I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To preface this review, I should mention I met Mr. Rothstein at a political event when he had arrived back in Pennsylvania from his disappointing, California "Hollywood Gold Rush." He is quite the character. I'd give "As The Matzo Ball Turns" a big thumbs up. His goal of becoming a Hollywood star may not have been realized, but it opened the door for quite an interesting written production in this book. His writing made you feel the exhaustion of working in the service industry; waiting on people (especially narcissistic Hollywood zombies). The book itself is a lesson taught to others, through his experience, and his firmness in not compromising his moral obligations for stardom.

The clientele frequenting the popular restaurant were the perfect scene for a colorful, humorous story and an inside evaluation into the minds of the Tinseltown stars. The Anthony Hopkins encounter was hilarious, and to learn he only tips 15% (with a salary like his) was pretty surprising! Some of the coincidental, somewhat serendipitous moments which Mr. Rothstein described were fascinating.

It took me a while to write this review after reading the book on a summer weekend. Coincidentally, as I'm writing it, his first "masturbation song" by REO is playing on my stereo. (I haven't heard that song in ages.)

My only complaint about this book is it ended abruptly, leaving you expect more, and it could have used a touch of "50 Shades".

This book was meant to be read by those who who dare to dream.
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What a great book!! It is well written, so much fun to read and absolutely hilarious. I laughed so hard that I cried and people passing by would stop me to ask what I was reading and what was so funny. I actually used to work in the red deli and therefore truly appreciate this story!! However anyone who has ever worked in either the restaurant or entertainment industry (they are typically one in the same) will enjoy this tremendously! Also a great read for anyone who is considering working in either of those industries. Or just anyone who loves a good story.
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Format: Paperback
Jozef's book is a thoroughly entertaining peak inside the Hollywood facade, but more importantly, about one man's journey through early adulthood and self-discovery. I was profoundly moved after reading this book. Many of the stories and life events that Jozef relays throughout strangely mirrored my own concurrent experience. Very eerie but also enlightening and engaging. The basic pace of the book never lags, and you really get a sense of this man's trials and tribulations in Tinsel Town and beyond. I like how the Deli is depicted as not just his place of business, but a central character in the story. This Deli truly has a life all its own. I could not help but feel sadness for many of the people (actors/actresses/musicians/co-workers/junkies/agents, etc.) in this book. What was worse is that though I do not know these people, I feel like they could be my friends, lovers and co-workers. Again, VERY EERIE, but effective. Great character studies and analysis.

But without giving away any of the fun details and anecdotes (and there are plenty of them!), Jozef's prose is a must read for anyone who is questioning their place in this world. "As the Matzo Ball Turns" will stay in your brain for quite some time!
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