Since You Left Me

Allen Zad­off
  • Review
By – June 12, 2013

San­skrit Zuck­er­man, named for an ancient lan­guage, is a senior at B‑Jew (Brent­wood Hebrew Acad­e­my). He is there by default, not by choice. His grand­fa­ther left him an inher­i­tance to be used for his edu­ca­tion, how­ev­er there was a stip­u­la­tion. To get the mon­ey he has to go to a Jew­ish school.

The book opens with San­skrit in an uncom­fort­able posi­tion. His par­ents are divorced; his father is referred to as the Invis­i­ble Man” and his moth­er is a yoga instruc­tor who acts as if she has no chil­dren. There are par­ent-teacher con­fer­ences at the school and as usu­al, Sanskrit’s moth­er doesn’t show up. Wait­ing and wait­ing, con­tin­u­al­ly scru­ti­nized by the school staff and oth­er watch­ing par­ents, he becomes des­per­ate. He feels that he has to do some­thing to redeem him­self and his fam­i­ly, so he lies. He says that the rea­son his moth­er isn’t there is that she has been in an acci­dent and is in the hos­pi­tal. Hear­ing this infor­ma­tion, the school and the oth­er par­ents snap into action, eager to help. The sub­se­quent events and their res­o­lu­tion spin off from Sanskrit’s impul­sive lie.

The writ­ing is filled with humor. Sanskrit’s friend Her­schel takes a trip to Israel and got flipped” elic­it­ing the com­ment, He left L.A. as my best friend and returned as Zero Mos­tel in Fid­dler on the Roof.” His moth­er becomes roman­ti­cal­ly involved with a guru who turns out to be unfaith­ful. The guru says, You are my spe­cial flower” to which the moth­er replies, But you want a bouquet.”

This sto­ry of a com­i­cal­ly dys­func­tion­al fam­i­ly and their far-out adven­tures is rec­om­mend­ed for ages 13 – 18.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions