Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green

The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff

According to Bookcrossing, I've had a copy of The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green sitting on my shelves (or in a box) for more than four years. It came highly recommended (by someone whose opinion I value), but I just never got around to reading it before now.

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a quick read and parts of it were laugh-out-loud funny. Here's one of Jacob's unthinkable thank-you cards below, unfortunately it doesn't have any of his trademark misspellings:
Dear Effie and Mel Greenstein,
I'm so sorry this card is late. [...] I really like the generous gift you gave me for my Bar Mitzvah. I had no idea that they made bookends out of Jerusalem stone. With the help of my brother and my friend Jon we were able to hoist them up on my bookshelf yesterday. They looked really great up there before my shelving collapsed into a cloud of snapped particleboard. No one was hurt. I think I'm going to keep them on the floor. Thank you very much again. You both rock, Effie and Mel. Get it?
Jacob (142-143)
As a male's coming-of-age tale, The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green is a bit heavy on masturbation and sexual fantasy. I'd have wished for a bit less, but I understand it's roll. Some readers may also find the details of Jewish religious observances a bit tedious. I'd never heard of the Tefillin (Jacob: "forever my vote for most bizarre Judaic ritual," p. 80) so I found the explanations of that particularly interesting. Mostly though it is my dislike for Abram (Jacob's father) that overwhelms all the positive feelings I have about the book.

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