So I recently read the book Foreskins Lament by Shalom Auslander. I usually don’t do book reviews, mostly because they may make the blog into a serious one and I don’t want that, and because I read so many damned books, that I highly doubt you would want to hear about them. But some books demand a review, as do some movies, maybe that will be next on my list.
So anyway I read Foreskins Lament after many folks hounded me by basically saying it was the best and worst book they ever read that described the frum community. You see the man who wrote the book, wrote it as a memoir of his life growing up in a dysfunctional frum family in Monsey. Its not one of those secular childhoods that revolved around bagels and lox, this is the real deal.
Auslander takes the reader through his uprbringing in which everything was prohibited, he brings you to his schools, Yeshiva Spring Valley, MTA and Niveh. He talks about burning porn from feeling guilty and sinning purposefully prior to becoming bar mitzvah so his father would be killed. He talks about how he frummed out in Israel and how he struggled with his Judaism every step of the way.
He does this in an amazingly cynical and negative way, yet it is one of the funniest books I have ever read. It kind of reminds me of the John Powers book Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Reflect up? In which the author takes you to his catholic school upbringing focusing mostly on adolescence and trying to get laid. Here is some frum kid secretly truning on lights during shabbos, eating slim jims and looking at porn all so his abusive father will be put to death by God because the father gets all of the sons sins, this off the derech kid had more faith in God then many folks I know.
He then talks about being a young married guy in Teanack, which again is hilarious and he really does a great job describing it, so good that any person who grew up frum would be rolling with laughter while reading this book, while you are rolling with laughter you may be offended by his direct way of bashing orthodox Judaism, its funny, but may aggravate some folks- probably not the folks who read this blog. When I have time i’ll throw up some links to other bloggers as I am sure many have had something to say about this book.