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Sweet Like Sugar Paperback – September 1, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 Original edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075826562X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758265623
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Benjamin Steiner grew up in a traditional (though just "almost Kosher") Jewish home in the DC suburbs. Now in his mid 20's, and openly gay, he feels disconnected from his family, his religion and - to some extent - his life, as he struggles to get his graphic design business going while placating his parents with participation in the Passover Seder.

A man comes into his life, but not exactly what Benjamin had been hoping for. Benjamin becomes a helper and listening ear to an 80-year old widowed Orthodox rabbi who lives near his office, a relationship that his family and friends don't understand, but seems to fill a need on some level. They become a teacher to each other, as the rabbi helps the young man understand Judaism as a way of life rather than just a religion. Benjamin tries to help the stubborn rabbi adapt to a more relaxed approach to traditional teachings, including reconciliation with a person from his past, and a revelation that a gay person can still be a good Jewish man.

Though I'm not Jewish, the book resonated with me on many levels, in the way that gays and lesbians try to reconcile their childhood experiences and lessons with the life we find available to us. The author treats a sensitive, relatable subject with intelligence, realistic emotion and a positive outlook toward what we can accomplish. Well written and much recommended, five stars out of five.

- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
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Format: Paperback
Hoffman's second novel is a beautiful achievement. Deeply felt, written in muscular and lucid prose, it defies easy categorization. The two protagonists are at terribly different stages of their lives but each working on the problem of being part of a loving couple: one, a 27 year old gay man is struggling to- even wondering if he can- establish a relationship that can last, the other, an orthodox Rabbi in his 80's who has lost his wife of many years and is not sure he wishes to- or can- emerge from his grief. This unlikely pair becomes another loving couple. The depth of their relationship surprises. The ways that each finds in the other things that attract and repel is told unflinchingly. Each finds that what the other sees in himself is something that he may not have expected to find. Each is surprised by how they are changed by this unexpected relationship.

One of the more refreshing features of Hoffman's book is his treatment of what can so easily be termed "spirituality"- a term that has so readily been cheapened. In Hoffman's world spirituality is earned. It is never cheap, there is no guidebook to find it, and it requires questioning what one has always thought one knew about oneself. Hoffman's sophisticated point of view about anyone's spirituality allowed this reader to feel his own private surprise. That surprise continues to resonate. This is a powerful, quiet, beautiful book that lasts.

Gilbert Cole, Ph.D, L.C.S.W.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Somewhere in my facebook scrolling, someone recommended this book. I wish I could remember who it was so that I could thank them properly. I know that when I see a book mentioned that I think I would like, I immediately put it on my Amazon wish list. That is how I chose to read this for my New Year's Day sit-in at home.

I have always enjoyed exposure to other cultures and this book does that for me. For years I've enjoyed Fay Kellerman's novels that are rich with the Jewish culture and religion. I enjoy m/m novels and this one having both a man on a quest for a male life partner and a spiritual/cultural journey into his own roots was deeply satisfying to me.

I can't say much beyond what others here have stated. I just want to thanks the author for the gift of this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a quick read with interesting and likeable characters, that addresses many of the issues facing Judaism today. The protagonist, Benji, a young, gay, and barely Jewish man, stumbles into a casual relationship with Rabbi Zuckerman, the owner of the Jewish bookstore in the shopping plaza where Benji has his own advertising business. What began as casual quickly becomes a deep and valuable friendship, until Benji tells Rabbi Zuckerman, who is Orthodox, that he's gay. Predictably, fireworks ensue, ending with the rabbi calling Benji an "abomination" and throwing him out of his house. They eventually reconcile, and each teaches the other. Benji falls in love with a Jewish man who is even more ba'al teshuvah than he is, and Benji becomes his teacher, with Rabbi Zuckerman as the unknowing teacher.

This is a nice story. It's a very fast read. It is somewhat trite and predictable, but the relationships ring true. There is a lot of basic Judaism in it, as well as some surprising insights into Pirke Avot. That said, had this not been a book club book, I would have stopped reading at about a third of the way through, because that's when I realized how trite and predictable the story is.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
it's nice to see a good, young person striving to be a better person. the writing was clear, the issues were complex, and the lessons important. this could be a very important book to young people, especially if they are gay, trying to navigate the complexities of the modern world while trying to remain true to themselves.
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