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The Right Thing to Do at the Time

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  49 reviews
If Jane Austen and Sholem Aleichem (Fiddler on the Roof) schemed in an elevator, this just might be their pitch. Ari is Elizabeth and Itche is Jane--and this Jewish, queer, New York City retelling of Pride and Prejudice is for everyone.

Ari Wexler, a trans guy in his late 20s, is barely scraping by. His family life is a mess, he feels like a failure when it comes to love, a
Paperback, 347 pages
Published March 15th 2018 by Tiny Golem Press, Everything Goes Media (first published November 2016)
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Elyse  Walters
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: this book will be coming out in March... “A Queer Romantic Comedy”. The dialogue is witty- wise - funny- and enjoyable!!!! The leading man is a trans Jewish guy!
For all of those who read Netgalley books - this will be available to request on Netgalley soon.

I’m so excited to see this book here!!!

I read this book last year. I'm friends with Dov.
Dov's talented - insightful- wise -bright as hell - and a born storyteller.

The chara
Dave Schaafsma
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Whatever love is, it's no joke. but then, why do I hear God laughing?"

Book Group Questions

What, if anything, distinguishes friendship and romantic love in this novel?

I am tempted to say “nothing important.” Itche and Ari are best friends, bff, and there is some suggestion from others they know that they may at some point be (physical) lovers. But they “cuddle,” which is more intimate in this book than intercourse for this novel. They sometimes sleep in each other’s arms in bed, they kiss. This
Dov Zeller
Hi folks, The Right Thing to Do at the Time will be published in March! It's a queer romantic comedy with a trans leading man, and it's a retelling of or, as a friend recently said, a bit of midrash (commentary, Jewishly speaking) on Pride and Prejudice. The audio version is in process and will hopefully be available soon. If you have questions feel free to drop me a line! For a bit more info about me or about the book, check out or

Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I spent a lot of this book trying to figure out whether or not I would have become friends with Ari or Itche at summer camp, and whether or not I would've hooked up with them. When you read the book, I'd love your thoughts on the matter.

There are so many things I love about this book, and here are a few:

1) If you read or listen carefully, there is meaning, humor, and wonder squeezed into every aspect of this book. If you read or listen not-so-carefully: meaning, humor, and wonder will smack you
Paul E. Morph
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frustrated musician Ari Wexler and summer camp obsessed Itche Mattes are best friends… and, possibly, more? The precise nature of their relationship is one of the recurring themes in this wonderfully written book but there are many more besides, from the micro to the macro.

This Pride & Prejudice inspired tale serves up a slice of New York Jewish culture and explores what it is to not have a ‘traditional’ sexual/gender identity. Primarily, it questions the nature of love, in all its forms.

This wh
Skye Kilaen
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A queer Jewish New York City retelling of Pride and Prejudice centered around 20-something trans guy Ari Wexler and his best friend, cis dude Itche Mattes. It's a book about love of so many different kinds: friendship, romantic love, familial love. On one level it's a romantic comedy, but it's deeper than I usually expect those to be, kind towards every member of its large cast, and full of a sense of wonder at the world and humanity. Despite all the interpersonal drama, it has a very relaxed fe ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I finished reading this very queer and very Jewish take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a few days ago. It took me some time to process the book. Likewise, it took me some time to get into the book.

Let’s deal first with why it took me so long to commit to the story and it’s characters. I’ll be honest here and admit that I put this down several times to read other books. Why? Thinking back on it, all I can attribute it to is culture shock. I didn’t get the world Itche and Ari were from. I co
Kei Smith
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone and their butter dish too
Shelves: favourite, giveaways, lgbt
To call Itche & Ari a take on Pride and Prejudice is to do it a disservice, to imply it is derivative and less than it really is. So instead, picture a take on Pride and Prejudice that is gender-scrambled, and in which nobody is straight and everybody is Jewish. Now picture that this is about one-tenth of the full picture. Now we're about ready to talk Itche & Ari.

Ari is a wonderful protagonist. He's flawed and human, conflict-avoidant to a fault, but also sweet and endearing, a truly loveab
Eric Hausman-Houston
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! Like Pride and Prejudice the beautiful writing, humor and characters draw you in. Like P&P, what makes it so compelling is its depth beyond romance and comedy while never struggling to be deep. Like P&P, I loved entering into this world I knew little about and falling in love with such well written characters. Like P&P they will stay with me. But this is no retelling of the Jane Austen classic. Though the inspiration adds another enjoyable element, I may have missed it had it not been ...more
Calvin Payne-Taylor
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Aching with feeling both sad and sweet, alive with wry humor, rich in portrayals of love in all its many changing, enduring, baffling faces--Itche and Ari tugs at the heart and upwards at the corners of the mouth all the way through. The characters are humanely, expertly portrayed in their oh-so- inexpert humanity and idiosyncrasy. They are characters that are easy to adore, to relate to--and to desperately miss once the last page has been read. It is a triumphant tangle of queer sexuality, roma ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A clever, high-spirited romantic comedy that, while structured loosely on Pride and Prejudice, will keep you guessing right up until the end. Zeller's first book is a wise meditation on friendship and love, in which the author coins and illustrates the maxim that “The distance between friendship and romantic love is never so great that they can’t fall down and knock heads.” This book is bursting with many of my favorite things: witty banter, slapstick humor, soulful music, a blizzard, a beach ho ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such an entertaining story that reminds me of the old Woody Allen movies set in New York. It's an. inclusive, contemporary take on Pride and Prejudice that explores gender and Judaism and is overall a sweet and touching story. Even the unlikable characters became sympathetic by the end. Well, except for maybe one. Stanya, I'm talking about you. I hope Dov Zeller will write more books! ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
It's good. You need to be comfortable with Jewish and Jewish-ness. It's very Jewish. There's no side-stepping it and it's good to see. I've never read Pride and Prejudice so I can't say whether it hits the nail in the comparison between it and this story. But it's on its own a good story and enjoyable.

I enjoyed my time with this story. It took me SO LONG to write this because EVERY TIME I would go to write/add this to this blog.. blogger would have issues OR NETGALLEY WOULD.

This was downloaded t
Maria Tane
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a book takes your breath away at every other page with its utter gorgeousness, leaving you gaping in awe at the words, you are in danger of turning into a bubbling mess of excitement. And here I stand as proof of that.

From the first page, I was completely engrossed in the story thanks to the brilliant writing style and unique narrative perspective. Each sentence is filled with delightful, witty humour and a bittersweet irony that aims straight for
Jun 03, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: rep-jewish, arc, rep-trans
I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

Officially on hold, possibly forever, at around 16% of the ARC.

I think this is a great book and the writing is so unique and it's what initially made me think that I would love it. However, it's really not easy to read at all. Not just the writing style, but the book itself is just...difficult. Difficult as in, you can't take anything literally.

For example, Ari not bei
Katherine Sparkle
I received a free ebook copy of The Right Thing to Do at the Time in exchange for my honest review.

I believe I would have enjoyed this novel far more if I hadn't known it was meant to be a Pride and Prejudice retelling. While there are parallels, it isn't a perfect match to the original, and I spent stressful amount of time trying to work out who was who as the story moved forward slowly and characters eventually became introduced.

The Right Thing to Do at the Time employs a dry Jewish humor tha
El (book.monkey)
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-arc
To begin with I'd like to talk about just how beautiful the cover of this novel is and although people (and myself) always say don't judge a book by its cover, how could you not? Personally I believe this portrays the whole story fairly well - New York, a violin and a whole lot of being pulled in different directions.
Ari is a trans male who has no clue what he wants from life, has sworn off love and is only just content with how things are. He works in a music library and plays the violin on the
J.D. DeHart
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found The Right Thing to Do at the Time by Dov Zeller to be humorous, witty, and touching. The book makes use of a classic Austen story in a new, updated light. Zeller writes in a way that engages.

Recommend for lovers or reading and modern life with all its romantic complications. The book will be released in the U.S. on March 15, 2018.
Malory Smithson
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I give this book two stars only because I love the premise and it gets points for representation. The idea of a Jewish trans man on a quest to find love and fulfillment who is so active in his faith is so interesting to me. It had so much potential, but unfortunately I found that the idea was poorly executed. I DNF’d at 10 percent because I just could not handle the writing. I was not at all impressed with it. A lot of the writing felt like it was trying way too hard to be quirky, and a lot of t ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book. It is a Jewish romantic comedy featuring a trans protagonist with a passion for the violin - and several equally colorful characters. There is a *lot* of Yiddish, but Dov Zeller provides comprehensive footnotes for the unfamiliar reader.

I've never been a big Austen fan, so the Pride and Prejudice comparisons largely escaped me - but the Fiddler on the Roof comparison is apt. This is a wonderful novel about friendship, romantic entanglements, family
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
Feb 09, 2018 marked it as dropped
Shelves: arcs
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh boy. This is not a book for everyone. It clearly wasn't for me. And I don't mean because of the story - that's actually really cool - but because of the writing. We get this weird, old-fashion omniscent narration (think that's were our story begins & I will tel you now about our protagonist) & it's the kind you have to like in order to enjoy and be able to read a whole book written like that. I don't. For
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway

tldr: 4.5, if you're like me and the queerness and the latter half the the plot makes up for a slower start.

This book is about a transgender Jewish man nearing 30 named Ari Wexler. He's struggling in life, suffering from anxiety about everything and that fear is strangling him, tying him down to a life that makes him miserable. The only real constant good thing he has is his best friend, Itche, but soon even he seems to be taken from him when an actress comes in
I am not entirely sure what I think about this novel or how I feel about it. Did I hate it? Did I love it? Did it confuse me and leave me wondering what I'd just read? I think the answer to all of those questions is yes. I was completely fascinated by this book, which is a whole different category than love vs hate. I stayed up entirely too late reading it, and while there were times I wasn't really taking in what was being said, I understood the deep place of uncertainty, hesitant, and confusio ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book started off too slow for me, but as the story went deeper, I was more engaged. It's always fun to read Pride and Prejudice inspired stories, because then it's a game of "who's who?" and "which event is which plot line?". Also refreshing to read a book where half the events happen at the shul because the characters spend so much time there, which is an accurate reflection of my life. And despite knowing the end of P&P, the ending here still surprised me! ...more
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
Mar 25, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: e-arc
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher, Tiny Golem Press, for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

As a former thespian and a fan of Jane Austen, I really was excited to read The Right Thing to Do at the Time. This definitely is the product of a Fiddler on the Roof and Pride and Prejudice mashup with a trans male character, but unfortunately the style of writing was not for me and I struggled to get into the narrative from the first page. The narrator is bouncing all over the place in a way t
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time getting into this book at first. I don't deal well with angst and woe-is-me characters. Once I gave it a chance and really read it, I enjoyed it more. I realized that Ari, the main character, had some growing to do emotionally. He wants to be in a relationship, but sees them as possibly being toxic to the soul. He thinks he knows what he wants but it doesn't seem to be out there. He has a job he likes, but the supervisor is making him miserable. He plays the fiddle with a taskm ...more
I really didn't like this to begin with, but about halfway through grew a lot more engaged and ended up enjoying it. The omniscient narrator tries far too hard to be quirky and funny (and fails - is too intruding) to start off with, but soon the characters come through. Most of the supporting characters are pretty one dimensional but there are some fun ones among them (Bubbe Pearl). The author succeeds in really immersing you in the life of a New York Jewish community. It's also very refreshing ...more
McKenzie Richardson
The Right Thing to Do at the Time by Dov Zeller

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle
I received this book through LibraryThing is exchange for an honest review.I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it so much. A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice? With queer characters? Sounds great. However, it just did not live up to the promise of success.My main problem with the book was the writing. It was unnecessarily complicated and drawn out. This book did not need to be nearly as
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: review
I’d like to say that I got a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinions at all.

Secondly, I want to say that I DNFed this book. I got to the 49% mark and I simply couldn’t keep reading it, much to my surprise.

I DNFed this book because of the writing style and of the characters which did not pull me in at all. I really liked the omniscient narrator. I recognize that it can be a challenge for some readers and it’s one that it’s eaither a hit or a
Cindy Stein
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish-fiction, 2018
In this modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Ari, a trans guy living in Brooklyn, has settled into a nondescript life, working in a music library where he's abused by his boss, finding less joy or purpose in pursuing his violin lessons or music compositions, and giving up on love. His only joy is his friendship with Itchie, who he'd met in summer camp when they were children. When Itchie becomes enamored with Tanya, a TV actress who's attending the same bar mitzvah as Itchie and Ari, the gr ...more
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