We’re coming up on the end of September! How did this happen already??
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Lethe Press for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
YELED TOV – Daniel M. Jaffe
As he’s about to turn 16 in the mid-1970’s, Jake Stein notices a prohibition in Leviticus that never caught his eye before: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.” This discovery distresses Jake, an observant Jewish teen, because he’s recently been feeling increased attraction to other teen boys and men. He’s even been engaging in sexual exploration with his best friend. In an attempt to distract himself, Jake joins his high school’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, but falls in love with the romantic male lead, obsessively fantasizing about him. Jake feels lonelier than ever.
The next year, while a freshman at Princeton University, Jake falls for his handsome roommate, is beset by serious temptations, and engages in a traumatic sexual encounter with a stranger. Seeking help from God, Jake tries to alter his desires, even dates a young Jewish woman in the hopes that she can change him, but to no avail. Jake concludes that God could never love an abomination like him, so he attempts to prove his faith by ending his own life.
After he’s saved by his roommate, Jake receives unexpected support from doctors, family, and friends, some of whom have been suspecting his secret. With their help, Jake explores a different way of thinking about the rules of Torah and himself, and begins to consider that he might actually be a yeled tov, a good Jewish boy, just the way he is.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
I’ll start by saying that I can see this not being for everyone. Yeled Tov – a good Jewish boy – is something that Jake Stein strives to be. However, growing up in a conservative Orthodox Jewish family he is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. The 70’s were a time where the LGBTQ community had less acceptance and tolerance as it was seen as an abomination. I couldn’t imagine trying to find a balance between wanting to stay true to yourself but also not wanting to disappoint or alienate your family. I think that the author perfectly captures this struggle.
While this is a more serious topic the author does a great job at sprinkling in some lighter moments that will bring a smile to your face. Well written with a very lovable character that you can’t help but feel for, YELED TOV is one that I would highly recommend. This is a coming-of-age story that deals in the topic of self-acceptance and the obstacles people in the LGBTQ community continue to face. For those wanting to diversify their TBRs I would definitely suggest adding this one to the list!
About the Author:
Daniel M. Jaffe is an award-winning, internationally published fiction and essay writer. His novel-in-stories, THE GENEALOGY OF UNDERSTANDING, was a finalist and honorable mention for the Rainbow Awards; and his novel, THE LIMITS OF PLEASURE, was a finalist for a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. He is author of JEWISH GENTLE AND OTHER STORIES OF GAY JEWISH LIVING, and compiler/editor of WITH SIGNS AND WONDERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF JEWISH FABULIST FICTION. Also, Daniel translated the Russian-Israeli novel, HERE COMES THE MESSIAH! by Dina Rubina. Read more at www.danieljaffe.com.
Where to Purchase a Copy: