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Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish: The Heeb Storytelling Collection [Paperback]

Shana Liebman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 26, 2009
Scoring weed for your uncle...Hanging out with porn stars on Christmas Eve...Eating nachos with the Mossad...Observing the Dyke Days of Awe...Getting held up at a Weight Watcher's meeting...Spying on your naked Hebrew School teacher.

From Heeb magazine--the definitive voice of a proud, searching, and irreverent new generation of American Jews--this first-of-a-kind fast and fun showcase spotlights the hilarious and heartful raconteurial gifts of many of today's leading writers, comedians, actors, artists, and musicians. Laura Silverman, Michael Showalter, Andy Borowitz, Joel Stein, Ben Greenman, Darrin Strauss, and others navigate sex, drugs, work, youth, family, and, on the lighter side, body and soul. You'll never bleach your arm hair again.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Liebman, arts editor of the hip Jewish lifestyle magazine Heeb, introduces a refreshing set of essays that reveal an array of both ordinary and extraordinary modern-day Jewish experiences. Arranged by theme (sex, drugs, work, youth, family, body and soul), these four dozen essays—the products of a Heeb storytelling performance series—explore the humorous, scandalous and often sentimental moments in life. Rebecca Addelman re-evaluates the college summer she spent in Israel getting naked with another kibbutz volunteer and a middle-aged Israeli. Andy Borowitz conveys the irony of a Jewish Harvard graduate (himself) writing a hip-hop sitcom for Will Smith: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Most outstanding is Eric Weingrad's account of spying his loathed Hebrew school teacher naked during a Sabbath night spent at her house. The contributors—musicians, actors, comedians and writers—will be familiar to many. Full of wit, irony, heartbreak and vindication, these essays will undoubtedly please those in search of an honest but creative look at Jewish life and its many trials. B&w photos. (Oct. 26)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"[This is] the era of Sarah Silverman, Heeb Magazine and Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Entertainment Weekly)

"The oldest tradition of our people, that of telling our stories with humor, passion, and sincerity, has been transformed by the newest generation of Jewish minds and souls. From the irreverent to the desperate; from the sacred to the profane; from the tender to the torturous: this is the voice of the next wave of the Jewish experience. You will laugh, you will cry, you will blush, you will call your Aunt Pearl. Thank G-d literature in print is alive and well and thank G-d that HEEB has captured it all."
--Mayim Bialik

"With Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish, Heeb proves once again that it is the undisputed voice of young Jews today. G-d help us all."
--Brett Ratner

"After reading this book, I feel relieved as well certain that Jews will be able to retain control of the media."
--Roseanne Barr

"Move over Cynthia Ozick, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, and the rest of 'em...there's a new group of Jews writing about stuff from a Jew's perspective!! Finally, this last hurdle (entrance in the literary profession) has been hurdled in a Jewish way by a bunch of Jews!"
--David Cross

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Original edition (October 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446504629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446504621
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,591,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even Gentiles will find it funny October 9, 2009
By Carol
The stories in this collection are both hilarious and honest, they're vulgar and sentimental. They run the gamut from a broken-hearted Bigfoot to a "gay" Bar Mitzvah to discussing politics with Grandma. The writers discuss their love lives, their careers and, of course, their families. I'm not Jewish, but I could still relate to many of the stories and laugh out loud along with the writers.

It's a funny, funny book. I found myself picking it up every time I glanced at it to read just one more story. Of course, the "just one more" turned into two or three or four. I also had to share bits and pieces with my husband, who sometimes laughed and sometimes looked at me like I was crazy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish December 17, 2009
While I was excited to review Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish, I was a bit worried that I wouldn't fully appreciate the humor or the nuances of the writing. I found the book thoroughly entertaining, even though I'm not Jewish. The book is divided into six parts: Sex, Drugs, Work, Youth, Family, and Body & Soul. Each part has from six to twelve short stories, each by a different author. The stories of young love, awkward encounters, and self-discovery are sometimes touching, often hilarious, and fun.

The stories aren't connected, so you can start with any story. You'll likely not be able to stop at one. I would read at least three or four at a sitting. No doubt the stories would be even more enjoyable to someone fully familiar with the culture and religion.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 26, 2009), 288 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the cover March 26, 2011
The presentation of this anthology isn't that great, in my opinion. The back cover is cigarettes stubbed out on what I assume is gefilte fish (er, it looks like organ meat texture and is covered in this jelly-like fluid). The front is weighed down by the dark border and puts the emphasis on the "drugs" part of SEX, DRUGS, & GEFILTE FISH. But Drugs is only one of the six sections, and most of the stories within it are relatively innocent, including OCD medication, Plan B, giving a cat meds, and letting a dying old woman smoke a joint. (Stephanie Green's "Benzos and Breast Cancer"? Not innocent.) Since the plate on the cover has six holes, couldn't each one of them represent one of the sections instead of four of them representing one of the smaller sections? It looks kind of like a coffee table book, but it doesn't really look like something you'd want to display on your coffee table.

The other sections is the anthology are Sex, Work, Youth, Family, and Body & Soul. Youth is the longest at 52 pages; Sex is the shortest at 23. (Drugs clocks in at 25.) My favorite stories were "Prime-Time Playa" by Andy Borowitz, "Poop Sandwich" by Abby Sher, and "Finding My Kegel Muscles" by Stephen Glass. Why these three? Well, "Prime-Time Playa" tells about the beginning of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I loved that show as a kid, and it's interesting to see just how it came to be. "Poop Sandwich" definitely makes me uncomfortable, but Sher perfectly captures the It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time existence of high school. "Finding My Kegel Muscles" reminded me of my own inability to let something go when I think it's wrong. And I agreed with Stephen; I don't think men have Kegel muscles. (My reason for liking the story really stood out once I realized it was that Stephen Glass.
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