Since You Left Me

Since You Left Me

5.0 1
by Allen Zadoff
     
 

For Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman, it isn’t easy to believe. Especially when all the people you care about leave.
 
His dad left after the divorce. The love of his life left in second grade. His best friend in Jewish school found God and practically left the planet. Now his yoga-teacher mom is falling in love with her spiritual guru, and she’s

Overview

For Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman, it isn’t easy to believe. Especially when all the people you care about leave.
 
His dad left after the divorce. The love of his life left in second grade. His best friend in Jewish school found God and practically left the planet. Now his yoga-teacher mom is falling in love with her spiritual guru, and she’s threatening to leave, too.
 
In a desperate attempt to keep his family together, Sanskrit tells just one small lie. And for a while it seems to be working. Because people start coming back. Sanskrit might even get the family he always wanted.
 
There’s just one little thing in his way. The truth.
 
Against the setting of modern-day Los Angeles, YA author Allen Zadoff presents a funny and heartbreaking novel about the search for love—and meaning—in a world where everyone is looking for something to hang on to.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zadoff (My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies) never quite balances the offbeat, twee, emotional, and religious elements of this story about a lie spun out of control. High school junior Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman—he was named by his hippie mother, while his music-loving father named his sister, Sweet Caroline—is faced with yet another mandatory parent-teacher conference at Brentwood Jewish Academy that his mother has blown off. Spontaneously fibbing about a “terrible accident” keeping her away, Sanskrit finds his lie snowballing, causing stress at school even as his personal life falls apart. Sanskrit’s mother has fallen in love with her guru; his best friend Herschel (formerly Sanskrit’s co-conspirator in scoffing at overly religious Jews) has become the most devout student at school; and Judi Jacobs, the love of his life, won’t pay Sanskrit any attention. Zadoff aces some of the core emotional moments surrounding Sanskrit’s family and his friendship with Herschel, but too many of the school scenes feel forced and awkward, with thinly painted teachers and administrators mostly existing as one-shtick ponies. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
Funny and glum, neglected yet self-serving, Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman ("that's my name, in all its confusing glory") trudges through junior year with a large, stupid lie on his shoulders. Sanskrit's accustomed to his mother's emotional absence; she's preoccupied with yoga and named him after the ancient Indian language, revealing hippie leanings that match neither his lethargic atheism nor his school's Modern Orthodox Judaism. When Mom garners schoolwide attention by missing a parent-teacher conference, Sanskrit announces she's been in a near-fatal accident. The outpouring of sympathy, especially from a girl he's adored since age 7, is like manna. Judi spurned him in second grade, and he's still obsessed with that rejection. His parents are divorced, inattentive and flaky; old friend Herschel is more religious and moral than Sanskrit can bear; and Sanskrit's late, Holocaust-survivor grandfather left him funding for Jewish education only (otherwise the money goes to Tay-Sachs research), forcing Sanskrit into Jewish school. His loneliness and his anxiety about the pressures attendant on being the descendent of a survivor are understandable, and sometimes he's hilarious ("Can breasts look disappointed?"), but his self-centeredness is repugnant (in addition to the lie, he bets on teachers' heart attacks). India is used for "exotic" textual flavor with a reductionist American slant: Chai, for instance, is "the taste of India." Two reveals plus the lie's exposure surprisingly lead to relief for Sanskrit's soul; hopefully moral growth follows. (Fiction. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Sanskrit has a few problems. He's got a self-absorbed hippie mom and an absentee dad. He goes to a Jewish school and doesn't believe in God. He has a crush on a girl who hasn't talked to him since second grade. And his former best and only friend is now a "super Jew." When Sanskrit's mom doesn't show up for parent-teacher conferences, he tells a lie that ends up snowballing into a very big one. His mom has fallen in love with a Buddhist guru and is talking about leaving Sanskrit and his sister, Sweet Caroline, to move to India with him. As Sanskrit tries to deal with his lie and prevent his mom from leaving, he learns about love and responsibility, and even makes his peace with God. This novel is well written and has easy-to-like (or hate) characters, but its appeal is likely to be limited to fairly observant Jewish teens, who will understand the references. Other readers won't quite get the book.—Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606842966
Publisher:
EgmontUSA
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
HL520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Allen Zadoff is also the author of Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have, winner of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award, My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies, and the upcoming thriller series Boy Nobody. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and went on to live in upstate New York, Manhattan, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. A former stage director, he is a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard Institute for Advanced Theater Training. He currently teaches writing in Los Angeles. Visit Allen at www.allenzadoff.com.

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Since You Left Me 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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