Joanie's Reviews > The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green

The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green by Joshua Braff
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's review
May 27, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: borrowed
Read in May, 2010

I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars here. This book (written by Zach Braff's older brother) presents itself as a funny, coming of age story of a Jewish boy and his quirky story but in actuality it's a good deal darker than that. Jacob's father longs for the perfect Jewish family and the perfect Jewish son who will represent him on the beema and read perfectly from the Torah. After his older brother Asher is suspended from Yeshiva and expelled from Hebrew school all hopes fall on Jacob.

Jacob's father is mean/abusive. He has ridiculously high expectations and berates everyone when things do not go according to his crazy plan. At first his antics are funny but then they become out and out painful. Everyone is basically held hostage to his crazy whims, a situation made worse when the mother returns to school to pursue her doctorate.

Maybe the fact that I have two young sons is making me too sensitive here but a lot of this book bothered me. I'm tired of books where the mother finds her way out of the craziness but leaves her kids there to suffer. I just don't find it funny.

The other thing that annoyed me is the way Braff uses Jacob's bar mitzvah thank you notes to tell part of the story-that and the letters to the border Megan-they just didn't work.

Overall there were some funny parts to the book and it's very likely that I'm overthinking some things here. Definitely worth checking out-jsut don't expect a laugh a minute.


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