HIGH HOLIDAY PORN by Eytan Bayme

HIGH HOLIDAY PORN

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A real-life Alex Portnoy tells of a childhood penchant for masturbating in public.

The combination of comedic Jewish coming-of-age story and masturbation can’t help but conjure up images of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. In Bayme’s debut memoir, the masturbation in question is done by a much younger lad and is a strange combination of introverted self-pleasuring and unintentional exhibitionism referred to as “rocking.” In fact, his first lustful encounter occurred at the age of 6, when he dreamed of tasting the scrumptious wares at his local Dunkin' Donuts, which was strictly forbidden by the edicts of his orthodox Jewish faith. “All I wanted were the simplest pleasures the world had to offer,” writes the author, “but life is unfair when you are a six-year-old Jewish boy.” Whether such statements are honest or ironic is anyone’s guess, but regardless, Bayme goes on to recall the childhood travails of a young kid from the Bronx who rubbed up against inanimate objects at school and at home. He then used pornography to prepare himself for hypothetical sexual contact with a girl. The humor is light and airy and rarely comes off as anything other than confessional dirty talk. “In my imagination,” he writes, “I was King Fuck, who charmed legions of women in the field and town squares before bedding many of them in my silk-festooned chambers.” Once he went as far as he could go with imaginary sexual encounters, in high school, Bayme finally obtained the girl of his dreams. He dropped her, however, when she couldn’t compete with his fantasies. After the first few chapters, the narrative begins to sound like every other boring recollection of growing up and experimenting with forbidden things like drugs and girlie magazines. The Jewish angle gives it some niche potential, but this is routine stuff.

Fails to add anything transcendent to the canon of sexual-coming-of-age memoirs.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-250-06722-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2015




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