Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: A Short History of a Tall Jew by Dennis Danziger

ISBN-13: 978-0615318462
Page Count: 468
Copyright: 2010

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Phillip Lachman is 39 and he's looking for a heart.  He's searching for a second wife who is neither terrified by his teenage son who is into Communism and designer shoes nor turned off by his teenage daughter who dreams of becoming the queen of an oil-rich country.  On the eve of Valentine's Day Phillip announces to his custody-battle scared kids that by the following Valentine's Day he will have found his second wife, his best friend/mate for life, and a loving stepmom for them.  Problem is, Phillip has no leads, no numbers.  Undaunted, he sets out on his quest.  Any kind, caring, competent woman will do.  So long as she's not an actress.  But this is glittery, glamorous, how-much-money-are-you-worth L.A., and Phillip, who barely ekes out a living as a public high school teacher, is in for the ride of his life.

List of Characters

Phillip Lachman - Protagonist - Down on his luck and looking for love. 

Zack and Lily - His (Phillip's) teenaged children.

Helena - Phillip's ex, who is still bent on revenge and tries to deprive Phillip of everything she can when it comes to the children.

Numerous list of women who show up throughout the book - too many to mention any specifically.

Kathy's Review:

This Catholic girl really enjoyed this book.  A Short History of a Tall Jew - which, at almost 500 pages, really isn't.  But that's ok - we'll assume that the author meant it as just another bit of subtle humor.  The book is filled with this kind of blink-and-you-miss it humor, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much.  Phillip is a sympathetic character, plagued by the ex-wife from hell.  I rooted for him the entire way through, wanted him to find love, wanted him to triumph over the ex, and wanted his streak of bad luck to end.  Many of the characters in the book are more caricatures, plays upon stereotypes and archetypes.  Danziger creates the stereotypical divorce attorney, trophy wives, hippie principal, teenagers, etc.  All of the characterization would lend itself easily to the big screen.  I can see this becoming a movie at some point.

Also, don't miss the reading guide at the back of the book.  Typically this is a section I skip, but I was hungry for more at the end.  I'm glad I read them.  That's all I will say.

If I had any criticisms of the book, it would be that there are a few misspellings (Jennifer Aniston's name is misspelled, for one), and the cover art.  The guy on the cover reminds me of Larry King.  Because I associated this drawing with how Phillip is supposed to look, I had a hard time visualizing Phillip in my head.  He was supposed to be fairly attractive, and, well, I apologize to his many wives and ex wives, but Larry King doesn't do it for me.

Although there is some reference to the Jewish religion, I don't think you need to be a Jew to appreciate it.  Most of the depictions of Judaism are exaggerations for comic effect.  Anyone who needs a good laugh - Jewish or not - should read it!

1 comment:

  1. Great to hear you enjoyed the book. I just got it in the mail yesterday.



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