Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16
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Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,528 ratings  ·  221 reviews
Rising young comedian Moshe Kasher is lucky to be alive. He started using drugs when he was just 12. At that point, he had already been in psychoanalysis for 8 years. By the time he was 15, he had been in and out of several mental institutions, drifting from therapy to rehab to arrest to...you get the picture. But KASHER IN THE RYE is not an "eye opener" to the horrors of...more
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published March 28th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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I only really know Moshe Kasher from the two times I've heard him as a guest on Stop Podcasting Yourself, an excellent podcast from Vancouver based comedians Graham Clark and Dave Schumka. His appearances were pretty funny, the guy has a quick wit and an interesting sense of humor.

On his most recent two appearances, he talked about writing a book that detailed his pretty sordid past involving drugs and mental health. Having gone through so much before his sixteenth birthday, there was no way thi...more
Clif Hostetler
The subtitle of this book pretty well describes what it’s about, so there’s no need for me to repeat it here. The question I kept asking myself while listening to the audio of this book was, “Will this foster within me a sense of empathy for the young graffiti artists, vandals and wearers of low baggy pants who roam my neighborhood? The answer is, “Not much.” But it does remind me that it’s always possible that those sorts of young people can grow up to be something other than a criminal. Perhap...more
Bryan Mclellan
I had heard Moshe was a comedian, but I knew him from else elsewhere and had never looked into it. I used to live in Seattle and was back for a few nights for work. A mutual friend told me Moshe was passing through on his comedy/book tour and picked up a copy of the book there.

I had told my mother about all of this. She called me the other day and said she had read the book. Her brief comments carried a weight that conveyed there was more to say than words could be found for. Something unspoken...more
Moira Russell
OK I guess....it started off well, but this book needed about 40% less bragging about banging and an equal amount more time devoted to his sobering-up to make it really good. No doubt it works better as a stand-up routine, like Fisher's Wishful Drinking. Read Dry by Augusten Burroughs instead.
Moshe Kasher's memoir is funny, and horrifying, and even a little sentimental if one can yearn for the broken person he used to be. I kept waiting for the spark to happen when I could put Moshe the comedian together with Moshe the borderline sociopath and addict, for the moment I would see the intelligent, thoughtful person of real depth he seems to be now in the stories of his misspent youth, but on the page, it didn't happen. On its own, this memoir reveals a life of struggle and violence and...more
I know Moshe, but I know him as a sober comedian who has done well and is a great, well-adjusted (for the most part :) dude. I didn't really know too much of his story because when I see him, he jokes and good things are discussed that are of the current persuasion. He did not tell me about his book coming out, I saw it on the book shelf at Barnes and Noble. I am glad I bought it.

This book made me laugh out loud... like, literally, not this LOL bull. Moshe has one hell-of-a story to tell and it...more
Lauren Hopkins
I liked this book a lot, even if I felt like a lot of the narrative surrounding the drug use, criminal behavior and mental disorders sort of tried to romanticize it in a way. It definitely made the story more interesting to kind of see Kasher go through his entire childhood all over again with commentary that put you right there in the moment, but some of it read as if he was proud of it all - even though clearly he's not. I don't know if I'm explaining this in a way that makes sense, but it's j...more
I wish I could give this 4.5 stars. The writing was great, the story compelling, but I felt cheated. 95% of the book was the author's descent into addiction, and then suddenly it's three years later and he's fine. After all of the suffering, and then it's just over? Don't get me wrong, I loved what ending there was, but it felt like getting to watch half a movie and then having to skip to the last track of the DVD.
Hasan Minhaj
This book was incredible. An amazing memoir by Moshe Kasher.
Dec 09, 2012 Lauren added it
Disclaimer: don't read this book without first watching/listening to Moshe Kasher's stand up comedy. This book's narrative undercuts Kasher's genuine intelligence, mostly because he fails to distinguish his juvenile 'then' voice from his learned, adult 'now' voice. Doing so would have improved the readability and overall value of the book for readers searching for some meaning in teenage strife. Furthermore, I would prefer that he write a book that is strictly about his experience growing up wit...more
Picked up the book because the author grew up and hung out in the neighborhoods I have inhabited for the past twenty years. His story is a familiar but very well told narrative arc of the junkie redeemed.

Kahser's life is resonant in the ways in which he is able to identify and own the aspects of a difficult start in life (e.g. divorce, drugs, deaf parents, etc.) and tell his story relevantly at each stage in the decent into chaos.

Best of all, he spent very little time on the recovery. The lion's...more
There always seems a perverse logic in that twelve-steppers seem to replace their addiction with an addiction for telling war stories about when they were addicted. This book to me felt like an extended form of one of those war story sessions, and not much more. It was well-written, and had some funny lines in it, but it seemed to dwell in the glorification of being fifteen, taking lots of acid, ripping people off, and causing property damage. It almost read like one of those religious motivatio...more
It was interesting to read this right after Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Beautiful Struggle. I actually heard about both of these books on Kasher's podcast The Champs (great podcast btw). As the mother of a small boy, I am now appropriately freaked out for my son to become a teenager (!), but I am also doubly determined to be a good mom who is available to her kids not so much to pummel them with advice or discipline like an army sergeant but to listen and keep an ongoing dialogue so they feel safe, lo...more
This book is the raw account of a kid, so much like a ton of the kids we all saw/were/were friends with as a kid. It made me remember all the crazy feelings that swarm inside of a teenager, how huge and looming life is and how scary it can be sometimes. (and I was the most boring of possible kids) It also made me remember those kids in sharp detail, and the agony they were walking around with, just going through their day.

As an adult, it made me feel something totally different than it would hav...more
The Snowman
I was pretty delirious for about half of this book. I didn't put it together until page 280 that the constant use of "signed" in place of "said" meant to show usage of sign language and wasn't a typo. Yay sickness.

Anyway, I felt it was pretty standard "my parents aren't all they can be, I'm gonna turn into a shithead memoir". And it reminded me of my own high school career. One that involved me in things like this occasionally. I was always supremely put off by people who were really messed up....more
I wish I hadn't peeked at the author's bio when I was midway through reading this book. When I came across Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 at the library, I was, of course, intrigued by the great cover and title, but I'd never heard of Moshe Kasher.

As I started reading, I was immediately engaged in the story and the writer's voice. I was also immediately surprised by the frankness of the language...more
The drama of Moshe Kasher’s early life could easily fuel several memoirs. He could write a book focused on growing up as the hearing son of deaf parents, or on his religious identity and his father’s relationship to Orthodox Judaism. He could also write an entire book about finding his way into stand-up comedy and navigating a ruthless industry. Kasher in the Rye incorporates a little sliver of each of these stories, but the only one that is told in a completest fashion is the saga of addiction....more
I don't work with kids like this, but I know a lot of people who have and this could give them at least some inspiration. You should read this book for two main reasons:
1.) Moshe Kasher is as good a writer of stories as he is of making them funny as hell on stage!
2.) When someone says "I was a bad kid" you can say "fuck you - did you....?". No spoilers!
MBD is an @$$#0!&, is ostensibly the takeaway from this book. Well, no, not really. The takeaways are actually numerous, and valuable, and among them are: how low one can sink despite one's best conscious efforts, where salvation can come from, how violence can sometimes not have a reason other than children can be just plain stupid, how scared straight often has no long term effect, and how real one can get when it matters. Kasher gets high marks for his sense of humor, and he peppers spott...more
Nancy Martira
A well-written, self-aware memoir about fucking up and being out of control. There is something in Kasher's story for everyone who has made bad decisions, or had bad decisions thrust upon them, and found the grace to make a right turn.
really liked the guy when he did standup on a late night show, but sadly, too many swear words and such for me to get far into it. deleted from my ipad.
Sherri Liberman
Kasher, who grew up a hearing child of deaf parents, shares the challenges of that situation in this memoir, which is actually the tip of the iceberg. He shuttles between coasts and parents after their divorce - his father becoming involved in the Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, while he lived most of of the year with his mother in California, coming of age listening to NWA and Dr. Dre at an inner city public school in Oakland. Naturally - Kasher eventually became a stand-up comic. He could have...more
Dan Danger
Laugh with Kasher as he explores his colorful upbringing as the child of two deaf divorced Jewish parents in Oakland, California. He makes it OK to laugh at him as he plunges head first into teenage drug addiction. This book is better than most addiction memoirs because of it's levity- Kasher uses his stand-up comedy skills to entertain the reader with his story.

Kasher lets us laugh at subject matter that is too often portrayed as simply macabre. Kasher's newfound perspective gives us a rich, mu...more
Kristine Reyna
Reading this book was a bee line to the confusion and loneliness of adolescence: Being embarrassed by the beautiful oddities that separate you from the crowd, trying your hardest to impress the few friends you managed to find, seeking out the things that will suppress the pain.
I think the best thing about this book is the balance Kasher makes between humor and sincerity. When I read this book, I don't think he's telling a story to make me laugh; he's making an honest effort to give us his versio...more
When I first started Kasher in the Rye, I was put off by the constant stream of witty banter. Moshe is funny, but like I've often felt watching the Gilmore Girls, I thought, "How much funny can I take? Does literally EVERY line need to be an intelligent joke?" I stuck with it and I am so glad I did. By the end of the book, I was grateful for the humor, which helped me survive the heartbreaking moments without sinking into a depression.

Moshe's story is the real-life struggle of adolescent alcoho...more
Heidi Thorsen
I enjoyed this book, but not so much that I eagerly read through it all at once. It was easy to put down. I found it interesting to read about the boy's descent to rock-bottom, it seemed in many ways different than what I imagine the trip would be like for an adult. Kids are naturally bad at long-term planning, having so little life perspective, so I empathize with his situation. I did keep rooting for the narrator, it's obvious to adults he needs help, but it is tricky to deliver that help in a...more
I was reluctant to start it for reasons that have nothing to do with the book or author, but once I did, I thought it was excellent, and I don't even really like Catcher in the Rye so much. As a memoir, I appreciated that the author didn't spend too much time on insight, because it would have disrupted the voice and recounting of events--sometimes description stands on its own and the reader can make their connections. The better authors avoid anvils, and I think Kasher's writing is polished and...more
Alanna R
I think it would be hard to have lived this life, having been born to two deaf parents, one a liberal, codependent feminist in California who technically kidnapped the boys to get them away from their father, and one a strict Hassidic Jew in New York, and not be able to write an interesting memoir. But more than just interesting, it's funny, intelligent, uplighting, and insightful. I appreciate the tenderness with which he talks about his old friends. Despite being thieves, liars, and all around...more
I can't remember where I first heard Moshe Kasher, but he's one of those people that once you know they exist, they seem to pop up everywhere. I saw his recorded Live in Oakland show, then heard him mentioned on a podcast. He's funny, so I thought I'd check out his book.

Not so funny. I mean, it IS funny, but the kind of funny that makes your stomach hurt. And that's good. Argggh. So hard to explain.

Kasher, the son of divorced deaf parents, describes how he tried to negotiate a childhood composed...more
Frishawn Rasheed
My Review
This is a very eye-opening read! It is the perfect read for adults who say things like, "You're not old enough to have problems!" This book is proof that there is no such thing as too young! You spend pages following the young Mr. Kasher through a drug and booze soaked childhood that would make Keith Richards blush. It is nothing less than a miracle that enough of his brain cells have survived the abuse that his "too high to die" lifestyle inflicted upon them at such a tender age.
The da...more
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Moshe Kasher (born July 6, 1979) is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor based in the Los Angeles area. He is the author of the 2012 memoir Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16.

In 2009 iTunes named Kasher "Best New Comic" and his comedy album Everyone You Know Is Going to Die, and Then You Are...more
More about Moshe Kasher...

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