Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Review: Goy Crazy

Title Goy Crazy
Author Melissa Schorr
Genre YA Commercial Fiction
Rating B

Summary What happens when a semi-traditional Jewish girl (Rachel Lowenstein) in NYC falls for an Aryan Race poster child from the local Catholic high school (Luke Christensen)? Why, silliness and fun will ensue, of course. (Oh, and she might break her grandmother's heart, who will die.)

First Line "There is no way I'm dancing with Howard Goldstein."

Review I adored this very cute and fun read. I appreciated that I didn't see absolutely everything coming from a mile away, that the parents were dynamic characters (maybe I only love that because I'm an adult), and that the love triange was fun to read. I loved Rachel's voice--she was quite spot-on in her YA voice, but also not 100% self-absorbed or whiny. She was funny. What you'd hope your diary would have sounded like when you lamented having huge hair.

My minor drawback, and this could be because I'm a gentile, is that it was hard to figure out the significance of the Jewish religion v. ethnicity. It was seemingly very important to Rachel and her family, but then you find out that it's maybe not such a big idea, but it could be, etc. There was some back and forth with that that got to be a little wishy-washy to me, and struck me as trying to make something important sound socially acceptable; if marrying someone with like spiritual beliefs and/or sense of cultural identity is important to you, go ahead and say it. I don't think that means that you're necessarily saying anyone who is not one of God's Chosen Race is bad, it's just that you (personally) wouldn't marry them. However, maybe Schorr was trying to make the point that it's a confusing issue for Jewish girls as they come of age, but that wasn't entirely clear. (Especially based on the resolution of who Rachel ends up with that I won't spoil for you.)

Recommendation Fans of Lisa Loeb's short-lived Reality TV show, "#1 Single." (I think there are similar YA writers, but because the faith/ethnicity/religion is so important to the plot of this book, I'll leave these recommendations brief.)


Marie said...

I think the whole religion/ethnicity thing is really complicated for a lot of people. I haven't read this book but it seems like maybe it bit off a little more than it could chew if it was trying to tackle something serious in a lighthearted way.

Literature Crazy said...


I agree. There are certain topics that need to be handled appropriately. Is there a case to be made that young people need to have access to books that address issues of faith and identity in a relevant manner? Yes. Does that require that they be irreverant? No.