The Mitzvah Man John J. Clayton creates is Adam Friedman. He loses his wife in a horrible and untimely car accident while he is off preening about his success and lifestyle at a twenty-fifth prep school class reunion. Wrapped in grief, he is surrounded by a cast of characters that readers will easily relate to.
The Mitzvah Man searches his soul constantly, communes with God and nature, and takes himself on a confused, sometimes foolish, and yet ultimately intelligent journey through death and life.
He begins to perform small mitzvot and then braver and greater ones. His teenage daughter presents him with her handmade Mitzvah Man tee shirt and he is thrust into the public spotlight. His publicized good deeds attract admirers, get-rich-quick schemers, followers, and detractors. Is he a false prophet or a real hero? A storm of controversy overtakes him as he tries to hold onto his life and daughter while continuing to stand up for good in a world that is falling apart and quick to judge.
Clayton’s entertaining style abounds with references to music, literature, religion, and Jewish history and customs while dealing with many universal questions.
What is the role of God in one’s life? How does doing for others give solace and meaning to one’s own grief? Can one overcome deep fears to be true to one’s calling? How do the love of family and the goodness of friendship affect lives? What is the role of good and evil in one’s life choices? Mitzvah Man is a timely book that reflects the world that Adam Friedman lives in. It nibbles at and challenges the reader to find the Mitzvah Man within ourselves.
Renita Last is a member of the Nassau Region of Hadassah’s Executive Board. She has coordinated the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Programming and Health Coordinators and as a member of the Advocacy Committee.
She has volunteered as a docent at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County teaching the all- important lessons of the Holocaust and tolerance. A retired teacher of the Gifted and Talented, she loves participating in book clubs and writing projects.