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How to Spell Chanukah and Other Holiday Dilemmas. Hardcover – November 2, 2007

2.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a cheery title, the writers in this odd little holiday book tackle their subject-and its attendant traditions of family, guilt and, well, tradition-with ambivalence, a real sense of soul-searching and a bit of self-pity. Trying to make peace with their Chanukah memories, most of these writers are quick to point out its relative unimportance in the Jewish roster of holidays, inflated by its proximity to Christmas; still, their stories are clearly vivifying. There's a great deal of kvetching over the influence and excess of Christmas, and not just its consumerism; Jill Kargman, for example, writes about some casual mid-sermon anti-Semitism at a midnight mass. There's also solidarity to be found, as in Peter Orner's story of growing up in a family of "Christmas-tree Jews": "Let me be clear: we had no relationship with Christ beyond loving the mall like everyone else in America." Standouts include graphic artist Eric Orner's "Traditions Break," a compact and involving story about a young woman's first Chanukah alone; Joanna Smith Rakoff's "Dolls of the World," an accomplished troubled-family tale; and Josh Braff's "The Blue Team," which happily extols, "What a holiday.... No synagogue, no guilt, no mortar, and no real lesson to be absorbed and passed down to my Jewish offspring. Thank God."
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About the Author

Emily Franklin is the author of The Girls' Almanac and Liner Notes and numerous novels for young adults. She has edited three previous anthologies, including It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; First Edition edition (November 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156512538X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565125384
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,072,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on November 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A group of stories (mostly, I think, nonfictional) by a group of (mostly, I think, youngish and secular) Jewish writers about some of their Chanukah experiences. One or two of the stories are moving, one or two are humorous; most were just unmemorable. On the positive side, this book is an easy and (mostly) painless read- the sort of book that you could comfortably read if you were trapped on an airplane for two or three hours, but not exactly a life-changing experience.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a big disappointment. I wanted a book telling about Chanukah and the traditions, giving suggestions and ideas on how to celebrate this holiday. This book is trash. It uses the "f" bomb word, then to top it off is uses graphic pictures in the comics, neither of which added to the book but what little good that was in the book, those two things took completely away. This is definitely a "do not read" even if you are stuck with no other book.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading the original reviews of this book, it was ordered for our synagogue's library. Upon receipt of the book and reading most of it, our librarian found it quite inappropriate for our young adults. It is now hidden amongst our adult books (in an area few people use).
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