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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
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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

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,015 ratings  ·  249 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 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
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
Moira Russell
OK I 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.
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
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
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
Glenn Conley
This book was a huge disappointment. I expected it to be the story of how Moshe Kasher became such an awesome comedian. But that's not what it's about, at all. It's about his fucking childhood. Seriously, from like birth, until he gets his fucking GED at 16. Like I fucking care about that shit? Fuck no.

I wanted to read about how he first got on stage. How he bombed horribly. How he got gang raped in the alley, behind the club. How he went home crying, to his mommy. But no. It's not about that at
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.
This is a memoir from someone who grew up very differently than I did, although we're around the same age. Moshe Kasher was just a bad kid. He grew up in Oakland, and his environment provided him with a lot of avenues for the chip on his shoulder to be expressed, mainly through drugs, which got him into a lot of trouble that spiraled out of control by the time he was 16 years old. This book is very, very good birth control. I can't imagine what his mom went through dealing with a kid who was in ...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
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
Jessica Weber
I read this book a couple of years ago after I heard Kasher interviewed on a radio program, I enjoyed listening to his story so I looked for the book- I do remember it being a little hard to come by but I was so looking forward to learning more about his story. Like I said it was a couple of years ago so I am not really remembering a great deal but I enjoyed it. I was annoyed that after all he did too mess up his life he comes out smelling like a rose and just gets to play the youth card. I shou ...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
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.
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
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.
A colleague and friend lent me this book to pass along to my daughter. It was fun at the start due to lively characters and the Oakland setting - I love reading books set in my city. But the fun wore off too quickly, and it became repetitive, arrogant, desperate, and then right where the real analysis and reflection belonged, it changed course and had a crash ending. The reader wants to know how and why Moshe changed, what was different about him, his new school, the director, etc. that helped h ...more
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
Scottsdale Public Library
Moshe Kasher was born to deaf parents, and learned early on how one is treated when they are different. After their divorce, Moshe and his brother live a life split between the conservative Hasidic community of his father in New York, and the more liberal, secular community of his mother in Oakland, CA. His story is both amusing and heart wrenching as he delves into his drug addiction, depression, and the ugliest moments of a rough adolescence. Kasher is a celebrated comedian but this book doesn ...more
This book should be required reading and I don't even believe in required reading.
Jeremy Hargrove
Kasher in the Rye (not "Catcher", as I've been asked numerous times before) is the story of a boy named Mark (who later went on to be referred to as "Moshe") and the troubles he gets into while living in Oakland. It includes several tales of drug and alcohol abuse, fights, racism, family dramas, and other events. However, none of these are shown in a "positive" light. Much rather, Moshe begins telling the story from the perspective of himself at that current age. At some points he may talk about ...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
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
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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
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“I told you I was a fucking cowboy.” 4 likes
“There comes a time. The pain of existence transcends the fear of change. There comes a time.” 2 likes
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