Alan Kaufman grew up in the Bronx, the son of a Jewish mother who had survived the Holocaust, her mind badly scarred. Growing up under the shadow of his mother’s demons, vowing never to become a victim like her, he struggles uncomprehendingly with his Jewish identity. He escapes from his crazy home life and hitchhikes across the US only to summon again the phantoms he had sought to escape. Alan’s continued odyssey takes him from an Israeli kibbutz and the Israeli army to his descent into alcoholism and homelessness on the streets of New York. At last, discovering in poetry the gift that is true to his being, he also finds sobriety in San Francisco.
Kaufman’s coming-of-age account is written with irreverent humour and poetic introspection. But above all it bursts with the universal humanity of a brilliant writer embracing the gift of life. Jew Boy’s fierce passion will leave no reader untouched.
Wonderful writing, with a headlong energy, joy, and sensitivity, bringing to mind the best of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller
Touches on themes rarely explored – the pain, guilt and confusion of American-born children of Holocaust survivors