September 1, 2019
A Jewish girl isolated in a gentile neighborhood in the 1960s grows up under the sway of her eccentric, but neurotic father. He helps found a small Jewish synagogue for the few Jewish families living in their Southern California suburb. Antisemitism is always in the air. Her father teaches her how to have fun; he also passes on to her his many fears: of food, contamination, other children’s germs. Alienated from her emotionally distant mother, she bonds with him and his worldview. When his mother dies, he plunges from neurotic to full-blown psychotic. His daughter nearly follows him with mishegos all her own. To save herself, she must engage with the world beyond her family. A sexy boy she meets through B’nai B’rith Girls helps, as does becoming a volunteer for Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign. She’s at the Ambassador Hotel the night he is assassinated. This forces her to come to a new reckoning with her family and find new ways to cope with grief and loss.