The second book in my summer reading challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will definitely have to read the rest of his books.
I finished it Saturday, July 4th. Not exactly a patriotic read, but then again...it did illuminate a whole segment of America I've been pretty ignorant about. I know very little about Jewish Americans. Not surprising, I guess, growing up in Texas. Now that I think about it, I believe I've only had one Jewish friend: Mark. We were briefly friends in college. He was an interesting guy. He spoke so softly, that most of the time, I'd have to practically put my ear to his mouth, to what he was saying. And I will always remember him, due to the fact that his parents had estranged themselves from him. They had moved away, and never told him where they were going. I was so intrigued with that, since my parents were the polar opposite. To the point of suffocation. But I couldn't imagine why they did that, because Mark seemed to be a really nice, intelligent guy. Who knows?
I can only imagine that when this book was published in 1969, it probably caused quite a stir, due to the language and subject matter. And there are certain images I will always remember: the bread knife, his father's constant constipation, “The Monkey,” getting it in the eye, etc... He painted such a vivid picture, I leave the book almost feeling as if I had been the one experiencing much of it. And having grown up in a Catholic family, I always thought my parents were the experts at engendering repression and meting out guilt. They were rank amateurs compared with Portnoy's parents.