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The Shiksa Syndrome: A Novel
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The Shiksa Syndrome: A Novel

2.93  ·  Rating Details ·  314 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Manhattan publicist Aimee Albert knows a good spin, but she’s the one who winds up reeling when her gorgeous, goyishe boyfriend breaks up with her—on Christmas! For a stand-up comedian, you’d think he would have better timing. But Aimee’s not about to let a man who doesn’t even have a real job get her down. She dusts herself off and decides to seek companionship with a ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Broadway (first published September 16th 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 23, 2009 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
The premise sounded hysterical - New York Jewish girl can't find a nice Jewish boy because they all want the hot Shiksa (non-Jewish girl) goddesses... so after being mistaken for a hot Shiksa goddess, New York Jewish girl decides to play along and catch the nice Jewish boy. Sounded hysterical. Unfortunately it kind of failed in the delivery. It ended up seeming to me like slapstick comedy. Everything that could go wrong did.

On the plus side, it was a fun, light read. On the negative side, the h
Jennifer Willis
Mar 02, 2011 Jennifer Willis rated it liked it
It’s been two weeks since my conversion to Judaism became complete. Coincidentally, I was invited to join a bus tour of Jewish Portland this morning, and our very first stop was the same mikvah where I’d been exactly fourteen days earlier to meet with the Ben Din and then immerse in the ritual bath.

Later in the afternoon, I was on the phone with a friend in New York City. He told me that when he’d mentioned my conversion to one of his co-workers, the man had replied, “Cool! Is she single?”

My fri
Aug 19, 2008 Hilz rated it it was amazing
OMFG. Talk about a FUNNY book. Maybe it just hit home as a woman in my middle-30's who is in the dating scene. Maybe I can relate to there not being lots of Jewish men to date... or knowing that there are many Jewish men who want non-Jewish women.

Maybe I just needed something funny to take my mind off my own life.

All I know is that I truly enjoyed this book.
Jan 24, 2009 Chelsea rated it it was ok
This is what I get for grabbing a book off the shelf since the book I REALLY wanted wasn't there...sigh. I thought it would be funny, kind of like My Big Fat Greek Wedding-esque except with the main character being Jewish. And while there was nothing I really DISliked about the book, but not that much TO like. I thought the entire middle 100 pages could have been taken out without losing any real plot. It bothered me that the main character stayed SOOOOOO long in her charade and was obviously ...more
Jun 02, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok
It's all here: stereotypes, yiddish, interfaith dating, Jews who are barely Jewish, Jews who are culturally Jewish, etc - and in a light, easy read. A lot of it rings true. I do wonder about the shiksa phenomenon, though -- is it really happening? Unfortunately, the main character of Aimee isn't very sympathetic or likable because she pretends to be a shiksa for way too long, and it's obvious that the guy she's pretending to be one for is entirely wrong for her. I could tell where the story was ...more
Oct 20, 2016 Monica rated it it was ok
This book was a fun and silly read, but at the same time offensive and dumb. I really didn't like the way that Jewish stereotypes were portrayed so literally. Also "shiksa" is an offensive word, which Jews avoid using and shouldn't really be used anyway. Whilst stereotypes can be true to some degree, not every Jewish person behaves the same and looks the same. It implied that all Jewish women are bossy, controlling and unattractive, whilst shiksas are sweet, easily moldable and influenced and ...more
Sarit Chalamish
Sep 28, 2016 Sarit Chalamish rated it liked it
It was a nice, light read. Not my typical go-to book but it did have some depth to it. Living on Manhattan's Upper West Side I knew exactly what the character was referring to and I did enjoy learning how she managed to bring another religion into her life (culturally and on the surface) only to win a Jewish boy.
Mar 23, 2010 Ashley rated it it was ok
It took me awhile to get into this one, with all the Yiddish words being tossed around and references to Jewish culture. Graff included a handy "Yiddish glossary" in the back that I felt like I was flipping to every couple of paragraphs. This is nit-picky, but I didn't think there were enough pages separating the last few pages of the story and the glossary. While I'd be flipping to the glossary, I'd inadverently catch a few words in the last pages and had pretty much figured out how the ending ...more
Jul 29, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: nsfw-book-club
Man I want to rate this book higher but the awful writing prevents me from doing so. I felt like - buried within the manic writing and the despicable miasma of lies the protagonist selfishly weaves - there were some good questions raised.

Aimee Albert is a publicist working in Manhattan who is super Jewish and just can't seem to find a good Jewish man to settle down with. She visits her hairstylist and gets an Accidental Makeover! which turns her normally black curly hair straight and bright red
Sep 20, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was ok
Aimee Albert works as a publicist in Manhattan. She also is very faithful to her religion as a nice Jewish woman. She and her boyfriend, Peter have been dating for a while. Yet Aimee is ready to start a family and doesn’t know if Peter is the one. One… he is a Presbyterian and two…he isn’t ready to settle down like Aimee is. Peter can’t take the pressure and he ends things between them.

Krista is Aimee’s friend and also a shiksa. A shiska is a non Jewish person. Krista and Aimee go to a party at
Aug 13, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok
It is rare, but sometimes I find myself reading a book so poorly written that I cannot bring myself to finish it. This is one of those books. The plot was decent enough to keep me interested for about half the book, but the author's writing kept me from wanting to finish it. Her sentence structure is very odd, and alternates between rambling sentences and sentences that seem to be missing some elements. In many places the scene completely changes between one paragraph and the next, with no ...more
May 27, 2015 Molly rated it did not like it
Here we have our classic story of a woman changing who she is to attract a man, letting herself be manipulated by "well intentioned but silly" friends, and then ultimately realizing she's PERFECT JUST THE WAY SHE IS!!!!!

So quick synopsis: Main character is a single Jewish woman who lives and work in New York City (IMAGINE THAT REVOLUTIONARY PREMISE) and isn't meeting Jewish men who are worthy of the ultimate woman goal of marriage. She hears that Jewish men aren't interested in her because Jewi
Nov 15, 2008 Karina rated it really liked it
As a Jew living in NY, I couldn't resist picking this up, but didn't know what to expect...or if I'd even like it: well, I did.

The premise is that a pretty, accomplished semi-observant Jewish female is tired of seeing all her non-Jewish friends and coworkers land the "nice Jewish" male, so when after a surprise birthday makeover she is mistaken for a "shiksa" (i.e., a non-Jewish women), by a nice Jewish guy she noticed before but who did not notice her, she plays along with his mistake...all th
Mar 24, 2011 Bridget rated it did not like it
I listened to this book. I thought it was pretty awful. There were so many cliches and "deep commentaries" that were trying to happen, but I just thought most of it was ridiculous. All I wanted was for Aimie to stop lying!

It is funny, however, that the last three books I've listened to have shared the strong theme of religion. None of them are specifically about religion, but they all have taught me about different religions.

The White Tiger taught me about Hinduism.

The Shiksa Syndrome helped me
Mar 02, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, romance
This book is a love story on multiple levels and for multiple people.
New York, Judaism, Family - these are all incredibly strong elements and characters to the piece - if any one of them were removed, the story would fall apart (or be much lesser than it is.
If anyone wants to learn about the beauty of Judaism - it is a great read while not being preachy.
If someone wants a read about the dynamics of a family (and not a young family, but a mature and textured family) - it is great.
If there is a ne
Dec 14, 2008 Kristen rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
So far I don't love this book. The Jewish MC has picked a fight with her non-Jewish boyfriend on Christmas, when he gives her a gift. That in itself doesn't grab me, but then there's the writing style, which over-employs the use of sentence fragments. And this book also apparently rests on the premise that there is no room for other traditions if one is "truly" Jewish. I find that premise offensive. If this book doesn't start rocking my world, it's not going to pass the Three Chapter Test, which ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it
I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it. The story line took a really long time to develop and the entire time I was thinking "What is this character doing?" I think because I wasn't bought in with the character, it made me not buy into the book. What I did appreciate about this book was the understanding it gave me on the topic of "Shiksa's" and the exposure to the rich traditions of the Jewish religion. Listening to the book on audio I think was helpful as I doubt I would have been able ...more
Sue Seligman
Aug 26, 2009 Sue Seligman rated it it was amazing
This was a great book...very funny, yet poignant as well as it depicts the struggle of a single Jewish woman trying to find the right man. She sees how non Jewish women snatch all the available Jewish single men and decides the only way to catch a Jewish man is to pretend to be a shiksa. The charade takes her on an unexpected journey and the interaction with her friends and family is portrayed realistically. At times very funny and other times sad, I totally related to the characters and events ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Jill rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2011 Susie rated it liked it
This would be considered chick lit. It is the story of a 39 year old Jewish career woman who has trouble finding a "nice Jewish boy." Her theory is that they are all attracted to shiksas, or gentile blonde women. After a birthday makeover, she is amazed to find herself attracting Jewish men who think she is gentile. She falls for one and lets the ruse go to far. The extent she keeps up the charade can be a little tiresome, but the author redeems by including some really thoughtful portions of ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Maria rated it really liked it
I am sure that my experience living in Israel and growing up in an area with a large Jewish population had a lot to do with my enjoyment of this book. It was hilarious! I couldn't stop smiling. Even though I am not Jewish I could totally relate to the character. A lot of what she deals with has more to do with being a woman, but the cultural/religious aspect definitely put an interesting spin on it. This book had a lot more to do with finding one's self and liking what one finds, more so than a ...more
Jun 23, 2012 Merilee rated it liked it
Charming, tongue-in-cheek story of what can happen when you get caught up in something and lose yourself along the way, but have the strength and groundedness to find yourself again - with a little help from family, friends, and spirituality. Very relatable - who hasn't pretended to be something or someone else, even for a little while, to get something we thought we wanted or needed??? And then realized how wrong it was???
Apr 23, 2009 Sharon rated it really liked it
Entertaining so far - not much depth, but it's cute. The characters are life-like, but the story seems a bit far-fetched. But what do I know?

Ok, I've finshed the book now, and I must say that it surprised me. The story unraveled well, and the ending was good. I liked the message (though the book was a bit simple): Even if something (ie someone) has a good package, you may not like the inside. Also: the reverse is true.

A cute book in the end, and a light read.
May 09, 2009 Alicia rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I had very mixed feelings about this book. At time I got frustrated with the fast-paced writing style ( i spent a good amount of time flipping back to see what I missed) and at times the story line irked me. It was the ending though that I really enjoyed, but as much I enjoyed the ending, it the plot line in the middle frustrated me.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Lots of things I could relate too and I definitely improved my Hebrew/Yiddish skills.
Dec 25, 2011 Bianca rated it really liked it
I've always wanted to be Jewish. Besides that I had to read this book for an English course in college. We focused on the cultural transformations and sacrifices women often go through as they grow up and consider marriage. Pretty much, this book solidified the idea that women don't need to lose their own identity for a man.
Sep 19, 2010 Alicia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm listening to this on CD in my car, which with my 5 minute daily commute, will take around 2 months to finish. So far it's, well, silly. But some moderately fun fluff to break up the thrillers I usually listen to when we go on a 'road trip', i.e., drive across the island, which takes all of 45 minutes, or 1 disc.
Jun 05, 2010 Tyra rated it it was ok
If this book had been a lot shorter it would have been a lot better. Nice Jewish girl can't meet nice Jewish boy. Looks like everybody is intermarrying. Maybe I can pass as a non-Jew and meet man that way. Aimee makes up an entire past history and complications occur. But it all works out in the end.
Sep 16, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
Spoilers!! I loved this book- right up until the end. I don't understand why the main character ended up with her ex- boyfriend. The book is cute, charming, and an all around good read right up until those few last pages. Aimee should have ended up on her own, and held out for a great guy who she truly loved.
Nancy Shultz
I think I liked it more than most of the reviewers did before me--but that could be because I'm a converted shiksa! Although a bit predictable, it was funny, earnest and almost believable. I can imagine someone falling into living this lie, but cannot imagine them getting away with it for as long as Aimee did. Not a bad first effort!
I found this book to be entertaining, but worry that it gives a false impression of Jewish women. Of course, I am just one Jewish woman, who is in a healthy interfaith marriage, but in many ways couldn't relate to the main character. However, it was a light and easy read. If any of my friends want my copy let me know and I'll happily sent it your way!
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Laurie Graff, author of the bestselling You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs (reissue 11-12) that received multiple printings here and abroad (Italy, Australia, and Amsterdam), has also written the novels Looking for Mr. Goodfrog and The Shiksa Syndrome. A contributor to Complaint Box NY Times, Live Alone and Like It, It’s A Wonderful Lie and Scenes from a Holiday, her work is included in the upcoming ...more
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