A memoir about a young man’s coming-of-age as an Orthodox Jew in New York and his protracted courtship of his wife.
In his foray into nonfiction, screenwriter and novelist Avrech’s (The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden, 2004, etc.) comedy covers love at first sight. Beginning in 1959, the memoir first portrays Avrech as a 9-year-old nobody at the Yeshiva of Flatbush. Describing himself as one of the dumb kids, Avrech confesses also to being unimpressive in the looks department. None of this mediocrity bothers him until the day that Karen Singer, the beautiful daughter of a local rabbi, transfers to his school. Avrech is struck with an immediate and unshakable need to be the center of Karen’s world, though for much of the story, Karen barely knows that poor Avrech exists. Avrech makes quick and entertaining work of taking the reader through his childhood, highlighting the few times he actually had contact with or a sighting of Karen. From the first boy/girl party in middle school to carefully planned, surreptitious excursions to the synagogue of Karen’s father, Avrech shows himself to be the quintessential, yet endearing, love-struck fool. The memoir includes sporadic but well-placed snippets written from Karen’s perspective that show Avrech’s perception was not always consistent with what Karen was seeing. This short, fast-paced memoir contains a few pictures that add color. There are also many details of Jewish religious observance woven into the story that assume a basic knowledge about Judaism. As the story continues, years go by, and Avrech finally begins a true courtship of Karen. By this point in the narrative, the reader has already fallen in love with Avrech and hopes that Karen will too.
A delightfully romantic, true story of unabashed, unapologetic and unwavering persistence.