In this lyric memoir, author Davon Loeb describes his emerging identity as a young biracial young man in New Jersey. Born to a white Jewish father who had an extramarital affair with his Black Christian mother, Loeb reflects on how his background has shaped the man he is becoming — and coming to understand.
Loeb’s writing style always feels intimate, ever aware of the setting’s socioeconomic and racial fault lines. But it is the sections in which he writes about his experiences with his mother’s extended family in Alabama that truly shine. They provide a backdrop for the complex web of relationships that inspire him, texture his stories, and depart from what he shares about his father’s family. The portraits he paints of his grandfather in Alabama, and his stepfather in New Jersey, are particularly thoughtful and sympathetic.
Loeb’s writing is artful, and readers can appreciate the care with which he chooses his words. While some may prefer a book with a more obvious chronological order, the deliberate looseness of the memoir’s structure gives Loeb’s reminiscences an ethereal quality. The In-Betweens is not a book to gulp down in a single sitting. One must get to know Loeb slowly, one memory at a time.
Deborah Miller received rabbinical ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter, where she serves as a hospice chaplain and teacher.