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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Here it is: the Jewish counterpart to all those painful coming-of-age novels set in stifling Catholic schools, starring tyrannical nuns. In The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green, first-time novelist Braff offers a sad, sometimes funny, always powerful look at one Jewish boy whose youth is made miserable by a selfish father, a weak mother, and the endless demands of a Jewish education.
The second of three children, Jacob's world is the New Jersey suburbs of the 1970s. His father, Abram, is overly concerned with his image and hosts parties for the sole purpose of delivering speeches to his guests, using a microphone to introduce the members of his "perfect" family. Jacob's mother heads back to school to escape Abram's bullying, and Jacob's older brother rebels, turning to alcohol. But Jacob hates to see his family unraveling and still craves his father's approval -- something difficult for to attain as the learning-disabled Jacob struggles with his schoolwork.
Can Jacob assume the role of the obedient son, as his father desires? Or will he, too, find a way to escape his life, as his mother and brother have? Braff's unusual account of the life of Jacob Green is an exceptional story of a boy simply trying to do the best he can, and a stellar first effort by a talented novelist. (Holiday 2004 Selection)