25 January 2013

Imprint Friday: Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde by Rebecca Dana

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Amy Einhorn Books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

Admit it, just the title of this week's book caught your attention. I was curious about what would bring two such different people together and whether they would connect. In Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde, Rebecca Dana recalls the nine months she shared an apartment with a Hasidic rabbi in the Lubavitch neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Here's the publisher's summary:

The ultimate fish-out-of-water tale . . .

A child who never quite fit in, Rebecca Dana worshipped at the altar of Truman Capote and Nora Ephron, dreaming of one day ditching Pittsburgh and moving to New York, her Jerusalem. After graduating from college, she made her way to the city to begin her destiny. For a time, life turned out exactly as she’d planned: glamorous parties; beautiful people; the perfect job, apartment, and man. But when it all came crashing down, she found herself catapulted into another world. She moves into Brooklyn’s enormous Lubavitch community, and lives with Cosmo, a thirty-year-old Russian rabbi who practices jujitsu on the side.

While Cosmo, disenchanted with Orthodoxy, flirts with leaving the community, Rebecca faces the fact that her religion—the books, magazines, TV shows, and movies that made New York seem like salvation—has also failed her. As she shuttles between the world of religious extremism and the world of secular excess, Rebecca goes on a search for meaning.

Trenchantly observant, entertaining as hell, a mix of Shalom Auslander and The Odd Couple, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde is a thought-provoking coming-of-age story for the twenty-first century.
To say that Jujitsu Rabbi is not your usual memoir is a bit of an understatement. Rebecca Dana writes for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, she's covered Fashion Week and has met Kelsey Grammer, and that was all  before she was thirty years old. But don't expect to read a memoir about fabulous parties and back-stage access to the latest designer clothes. Instead, Jujitsu Rabbi is about an unlikely friendship between two people who were both going through a sort of crisis.

The pair met when Dana was desperate to leave the Village apartment she had shared with her perfect boyfriend who turned out to be not all that perfect after all. She answered an ad and took a room in a kosher-kitchen apartment about as far from Bleecker Street as she could get. Her new roommate was Russian-born Cosmo, who was waiting for his green card, working at a copy shop, and beginning to second-guess his decision to embrace Judaism. What could a liberal Reform Jew from Pittsburgh have in common with such a man? Quite a bit, as it turns out.

Besides telling us about Cosmo and her own struggles to move past her breakup, Dana also writes about adjusting to New York, learning the truth about Fashion Week, and getting to know her Brooklyn neighbors. Ultimately, though, Rebecca Dana's Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde is a story of friendship and of two young people trying to untangle idealized dreams from true desires.

Amy Einhorn Books is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010, or click the Amy Einhorn tab below my banner photo. To join the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge, click the link.

Buy Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde at an Indie or at a bookstore near you. (Link leads to an affiliate program.)
Published by Putnam
/ Amy Einhorn Books, January 2013
ISBN-13: 9780399158773

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).

7 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks 1/25/13, 7:31 AM  

Wow, this sounds great. Not only is the title striking, but any book compared to Shalom Auslander gets my attention... (although while I **loved** his first book, I **hated** in an equal amount his second! LOL)

Heather 1/25/13, 8:31 AM  

I'll admit that it was the title that drew me to read your review. It just got better from there. this sounds like a combination that could only be fiction, but as we know, truth is stranger than fiction. Thanks so much for sharing this review.

Howard Sherman 1/25/13, 9:31 AM  

I read a review of this book on another book blog and immediately added it to my TBR list. The New York Jew that I am simply could not resist!

Beth Hoffman 1/25/13, 9:35 AM  

This book sounds terrific!

Ali 1/25/13, 2:56 PM  

Yep, you're right--totally drawn in by the title! This sounds like a fun read.

Daryl 1/28/13, 7:39 AM  

oh this is another that sounds like i would love it

Julie P. 1/28/13, 7:46 PM  

I ended up enjoying this one more than I initially thought!

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