• Review
By – January 2, 2013

This pock­et size, slim vol­ume packs all the emo­tion and detail of a full length nov­el. Samuel Ger­son is a sev­en­teen-year-old high school stu­dent from a lov­ing home on the right side of the tracks in 1990s Bal­ti­more. He is a good base­ball play­er, a sol­id stu­dent, and has a female best friend and is ripe to change up the pre­dictabil­i­ty of his dai­ly life. He seeks out friend­ship out­side his expect­ed cir­cle. Dmitri Zil­ber and his sis­ter Yeliza­ve­ta are new Russ­ian immi­grants at Samuel’s school who mix with a dan­ger­ous crowd. Samuel is smit­ten with beau­ti­ful, street-smart Yeliza­ve­ta and intrigued by Dmitri’s con­fi­dent atti­tude, pro­tec­tive­ness, and sen­si­tiv­i­ty. They share an inter­est in lit­er­a­ture. Though the two young men’s lifestyles are vast­ly dif­fer­ent they con­nect when they com­pare Samuel’s grandfather’s suf­fer­ing in forced labor camps and Dmitri’s grandfather’s time in the Gulag. Samuel’s need for friend­ship with Dmitri leads to spend­ing time with Dmitri’s rough friends. Dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions ensue and some lives are changed for the bet­ter while oth­ers stag­nate or wors­en. Read­ers see and smell Bal­ti­more through Gerson’s dri­ves through the city. This com­pact and intense com­ing of age nov­el is suit­able for teens and adults.

Twit­ter Book Club

Read a tran­script from the Feb­ru­ary 21, 2013 #JLit Twit­ter Book Club with Daniel Torday.

Read Daniel Tor­day’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

The Jews and the Novel­la

The Com­pli­ca­tion of the Jew­ish Writer Ques­tion 

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams is a Cuban-born, Brook­lyn-raised, Long Island-resid­ing mom. She is Hadas­sah Nas­sau’s One Region One Book chair­la­dy, a free­lance essay­ist, and a cer­ti­fied yoga instruc­tor who has loved review­ing books for the JBC for the past ten years.

Discussion Questions