Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.
The Jew of Home Depot and Other Stories
This collection of poignant, very human stories leaves the reader wishing for even more of them. Each story is a miniworld where cultures clash, leaving the landscape with enough cracks for the characters to fall right in. Each character is forced to confront his or her identity; each learns something along the way. Hopes, disappointment, dreams, and despair inhabit these pages. Character stand-outs include a Chinese gymnast caught between the ancient and modern, an elderly grandmother managing a liquor store from a booth ten feet off the ground, a Jewish businessman locked in a one-sided battle with his Muslim employee, and the caretaker of a disabled child. These and all the other characters are fully developed and achingly real as life’s trials and challenges unfold in each of their worlds. The title story, about a Chasidic family out of place in Texas, is a particularly disturbing tale of good and evil that stays with you long after you turn the final page. Apple’s prose is unfailingly spare and clear, making this book a worthwhile addition to the story collection shelf.
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