May 13, 2013
Forgery of the Month Club expresses compelling themes in Jewish life: Alienation, Race, Loss, Identity and Redemption. When Alexander experiences the alienation of his father as a child in Chicago in the 1960’s, he embraces a community of outcasts welcomed by his mother. Her moral free-fall from a middle-class, Jewish family in Minneapolis, to a criminal lifestyle among pariahs began a decade earlier when her father died when she was 14. While James McBride’s The Color of Water narrated the life of a Black man raised as a law-abiding Baptist by both a mother and a father, revealing at its end his Jewish roots, in Forgery of the Month Club the similarities end with race. As a Black child, Alexander attends Hebrew school, has little contact with his father and who, as a young man, collaborates with his mother in illegal and eccentric schemes. After Alexander finally leaves Chicago for a law-abiding life in California with the woman he loves, Alexander returns to Torah when his infant daughter must undergo numerous surgeries.