Jewbilly is a funny, heartwarming, coming-of-age story about the importance of family, spirituality (wherever a person might find it!), and how friendships can really bloom in the most unlikely of places. Get ready to experience culture clash like never before as a young Jewish boy's life is uprooted and relocated to the South – sparking a journey of growth, adaptation, and dramatic change.
Yosef Bamberger is a typical, 11-year-old Jewish kid in 1973 Brooklyn; scrawny, naive, and excited for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. He lives with his extended family, and a not-so-extended penis that won't grow no matter what Yosef does. Still, he's mostly a happy kid. Until the night of his 12th birthday party. When his father arrives late, Yosef's world is shaken beyond comprehension; a real oy gevalt on the Richter scale. Apparently, his Dad just got a new job – in a small town in Tennessee. They're moving. Like a gefilte fish out of water, Yosef now has to not only navigate a completely different world, but he also has to find a friend. At least one. And he does. A Southern Baptist, highly-freckled, miscreant named Calvin Macafee.
With the help of his new companion, Yosef manages to balance two religions, while becoming involved in drugs, alcohol, sex, and a murder investigation - all in just under two years.
A Note From the Publisher
"This is a complex, heartwarming story of hard-won camaraderie and love...Rosenberg's novel is a read-the-last-page-and-start-again-right-away kind of book."
-RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books
"Rick Rosenberg is a talented writer who has created one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read."
"Young adult readers looking for coming-of-age stories in which spirituality and family ties are prominent and closely examined will find Jewbilly a satisfyingly persuasive read."
-D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
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Average rating from 10 members
This is a well written book. It has some fine lines, a few well conceived set pieces, a fair share of perceptive and insightful observations, and lean dialogue. That said, try as I might I found neither the characters, nor their situations, nor the overall narrative engaging enough to arouse or hold my curiosity and attention. As a consequence, it doesn't seem fair to write much more of a review, apart from encouraging inquisitive readers to give the book a try.
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Jewbilly in exchange for an honest review.
I think the main reason I didn't love this one is because it does a really, really good job at catering towards its target demographic and I'm so used to books about young teen boys being written to be enjoyed by older-teens, faux-deep preteens, and adults. Like if I was a 14 year old boy? I would have loved this so if you are, give it a go.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Atmosphere Press for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Jewbilly is an interesting take on a coming-of-age story. It is well plotted, with interesting characters and with compelling insight into life of a Jewish young boy in the South.
I am not this book's target audience, so the extent to which I can relate to these characters only goes so far, but I still felt attached to them, I felt their pain and celebrated their successes right along side them.
I would imagine if you're buying this for a teen reader, then this book hits the nail on the head. I would completely recommend.
3.5 stars (rounded up)
I thought the voice in this was really wonderful and, on a personal note, as a Jew who came of age in the South, I was really eager to read this title. It straddles the line between Upper Middle Grade and Lower YA, so if you're going in expecting the characters to act more mature (as is true for typical YA fare of late) this may not be the title for you. Upper MG is a really wonderful and flourishing age category though, and I think this book is a great addition to it.
A great coming of age novel. This book tells about religion, new homes, and growing up. Friendship can come in the unlikely of places.
Jewbilly is a coming of age story about Yosef Bamberger and his family. It’s a funny and heartwarming story which depicts Yosef’s life moving from everything he knows and loves in New York to a small town in Tennessee. The book is a like a mix of Adrian Mole and the TV show The Goldbergs. Brilliant page turning read !
What an absolute gem.
This is a beautiful coming of age story. But it's also so much more than that. The book perfectly captures the day to day life of Jews living in Brooklyn in the 60s and 70s. I found I could picture their morning routine, Imagine how they walked and hear their voices in my head.
Yosef is a great characters. He is flawed and yet you find yourself rooting for him. And it really did feel like his voice in my head. The characterisations were fantastic.
This isn't my normal read, but I'm so pleased I picked this one up. I actually found myself laughing in public sometimes. This is a really genuine and feel good novel. Highly recommend.