Jew Boy: A Memoir (Paperback)Alan Kaufman (author)
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Jew Boy is Alan Kaufman's riveting memoir of being raised by a Jewish mother who survived the Holocaust. This pioneering masterpiece, the very first memoir of its kind by a member of the Second Generation is Kaufman's coming-of-age account, by turns hilarious and terrifying, written with irreverent humor and poetic introspection.
Throughout the course of his memoir, Kaufman touches on the pain, guilt, and confusion that shape the lives and characters of American-born children of Holocaust survivors. Kaufman struggles to comprehend what it means to be Jewish as he deals with the demons haunting his mother and attempts to escape his wretched home life by devoting himself to high school football. He eventually hitchhikes across the country, coming face-to-face with the phantoms he fled. Taking us from the streets of the Bronx to the highways of America, the kibbutzim and Israeli army to personal rebirth in San Francisco, and finally to a final reckoning in Germany, Jew Boy shines with the universal humanity of a brilliant writer embracing the gift of life. Kaufman's fierce passion will leave no reader untouched.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 414
Weight: 595 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
"Kaufman's unique voice, by turns manic and wretched, is always intoxicated with language. It was formed in the teeming streets of New York. Kaufman's writing can make gorgeous dreams of some of his most disturbing memories. At its heart-and a great big heart it is-Jew Boy is a classic, if wholly unconventional, American coming-of-age story."* SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE *
"Kaufman is able to combine humor and pathos with a cold-blooded sense of irony in his chilling descriptions of uncovering his identity. Frightening and deeply moving, Jew Boy is a remarkable document."* PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY *
"Some critics have dubbed the new memoirs of traumas and tragedies being churned out by publishers "pathographies" -packaged tales of woe that inexplicably linger on best-seller lists and naturally inspire successors. Kaufman's own story of a Bronx childhood dominated by his mother, a traumatized Holocaust survivor, departs from this genre in important aspects. He's not recounting misery for misery's sake but leading the reader down the long, winding path he walked before discovering his identity as a Jew and a writer. Jew Boy runs long at more than 400 pages, and details of the author's life as a soldier in Israel, a recently sober poet beginning a career in San Francisco, and later undertaking a literary tour of Germany in the midst of neo-Nazi riots are woefully short compared to lengthy descriptions of childhood and adolescent antics and traumas. Still, this vivid portrayal of how the psychological scars of the Holocaust are passed from one generation to another is also an inspiring portrait of a young man's literary awakening."-- Ted Leventhal * BOOKLIST *