Jew Boy by Alan Kaufman
A Memoir

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Synopsis

Alan Kaufman grew up in the Bronx, the son of a Jewish mother who had survived the Holocaust, her mind badly scarred by her trauma. Growing up under the shadow of his mother's demons, he struggles uncomprehendingly with his Jewish identity, vowing never to become a victim like his mother. In a great bid for freedom from her legacy, he hitchhikes across the U.S. only to summon the phantoms he had sought to escape. His flight, after taking him to a kibbutz in Israel and the Israeli army, returns him to the streets of New York, homeless and an alcoholic, until at last he finds redemption in poetry, the gift that is true to his being.

Kaufman’s authentically American voice, with its headlong energy, joy, and sensitivity, calls to mind the best of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller. “Jew Boy” touches on themes rarely explored in American writing — the pain, guilt, and confusion of American-born children of Holocaust survivors. But above all it burns with the universal humanity of a brilliant writer embracing the gift of life. “Jew Boy”’s fierce passion will leave no reader untouched.

 

About Alan Kaufman

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Published August 31, 2000 by Fromm International. 401 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Non-fiction

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His bar mitzvah, conversely, was another opportunity for his parents to disappoint him (culminating in their discarding the 20 invitations they told him they’d send out)—but it provides him with yet another occasion to draw a scathing portrait of his thuggish extended family.

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I experienced my first wet dream on a Sunday night after reading a Dick Tracy comic strip on the front page of the Sunday edition of the New York Daily News, writes poet Kaufman (Who Are We?)in th

Sep 04 2000 | Read Full Review of Jew Boy: A Memoir

Publishers Weekly

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Growing up in the Bronx with a deeply depressed mother who was a Holocaust survivor, Kaufman came to grips with his Jewish heritage in disquieting ways: he found himself sexually turned on by photos of German death camps, formed a clique in high school that jokingly called for ""death to the Jews...

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