||Feb 19 2002
Barnes & Noble.com
What if a middle class Jewish family from San Diego was suddenly plunked down in the midst of the Ozarks of Arkansas? A sort of Green Acres with matzo balls?
Meet Eli, Midge, Ira and Adam Jacobs – a middle class Jewish family from San Diego suddenly plunked down in a small town in the midst of the Ozarks of Arkansas. Their unseemly residency where no Jews had gone before generates a variety of obstacles and challenges for the family. While desperately attempting to obtain acceptance, the family encounters such town residents as the girl of Adam’s dreams, the hairdresser who also works on pets, the tent revival preacher who encourages the attendees to speak in tongues, the town drunk who brings cat food to the Ladies’ Auxiliary potluck and the reclusive neighbor lady who’s the area’s major moonshine supplier. Ultimately, Adam’s galvanization of the citizens in defense of a friend in need, Ira’s Halloween discovery of the true fabric of the town, Midge’s increasing efforts to assimilate her ways into Ozark culture and Eli’s tragic death followed by the revelation of the mysteries of his past all result in a scenario never anticipated for the Jacobs family – a perfect fit!
Order this delightful satire that’s a tale of incongruities with such underpinning issues as tolerance, familial relationships, small town dynamics, personal growth, and the anguish of degenerative illness.
After they settled themselves, Raynita asked Midge, “What did you do in San Diego?”
“For the last six months, I was a part time receptionist for Dr. Berman. He’s a gynecologist.”
“Really? I’ve never understood how that kind of a doctor can stand to look at women’s privates day in and day out,” Myrtis noted.
“My third husband would have jumped at the chance,” Lula Faye said.
Midge smiled. “Before that I worked at a jewelry store, but I never really ended up bringing home a paycheck – just earrings. And one time I sold bedspreads out of my car to help a friend whose store was going bankrupt. I was in a typing pool for a day, but my nails got in the way.” The other three nodded in total comprehension. “Let me see, I was a preschool helper for a week but too much finger paint ended up on my shoes. Oh, and I kept books for a multinational company that turned out to be a sleazy guy in Anaheim who ran a phone scam and is in federal prison now.”
“You sure have had your share of employment opportunities,” Raynita said.
It is never fun being the new kid in class, an outsider looking in, and in "A Perfect Fit", that is where Adams Jacobs finds himself. His family has to relocate from San Diego to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas due to the deteriorating health of his grandfather Eli, and in doing so, must endure many cultural changes in the move; going from the hustle and bustle of a big city, to a small town called Joshua Springs. The residents are, to him, losers that have no outlook beyond Wal-Mart, stuck in a dead end city and a dead end future. To compound the matter, he and his family are the only Jewish family in the area. At least he is not alone in one aspect, his mother, Midge, shares his feelings; she is just as out of place as her son. To her, outside appearances are what's important, what you wear and how you look, not to mention the proper shoes and accessories. Her goal now is to outlive her father in law so they can sell his bookstore, and head back to San Diego as soon as possible.
In the interim, Adam does manage to find a friend in Lonna Dean, another outsider. Lonna is a single teenage mother, something that the members of this small town have no qualms judging her over. Not only do the two of them become friends, it is not long before something stronger begins to develop. In an effort to lure customers to the bookstore, Midge decides to hold a second bar mitzvah for Adam, and have the reception at the store. The only problem is that there is neither a Temple or a Rabbi anywhere near Joshua Springs, so they arrange to have it at the local church, with the pastor standing in for the Rabbi. That, and Adam is eighteen, not thirteen.
You might think that is this a comedy, a Jewish "Green Acres" if you will, and where it does have some very humorous moments, especially in the sarcastic and sardonic wit of Adam, it is much more of a character study that will tug at your heart. Plot twists and turns will keep your finger at the top of the page, ready to turn each one as fast as you can read.
Richard A. Horwitz has a very fast paced style that makes this book perfect for today's readers, who appear to want everything as fast as they can have it. The characters seem real-three-dimensional characters that take on a life all their own. Moreover, as the book concludes, you wonder what life will bring them next. Unlike most dramas, you will not expect what happens at the end. At least twice in the reading of this story I personally had to stop and take a break, reminding myself that these are characters. My heartstrings are not the easiest to pull, but this one managed to do so nicely. This is a breathtaking story that will leave you taking a deeper look into yourself and the meaning of your life thus far. Moreover, I could see this story used to teach tolerance, as well as giving people the inspiration to change their life for the better.
The author has managed to create something special between the pages of his novel, a story that will stay with me for a long time to come and give others a lofty goal to aspire to, and for that, I thank him. Find this book, buy this book, read this book-you will be glad you did, I am.
Book Review Cafe
If you're looking to laugh out loud and read a feel good story, then 'A Perfect Fit' is for you!
The Jacobs family are really one of a kind! Midge, Ira and Adam are a Jewish family from San Diego. They recently moved to Arkansas to take over Eli's bookstore, which is Ira's father. This run-down bookstore is a sore in their sides and they need to sell it fast! Midge sets her mind to fixing the place up so someone will buy it.
Midge is the one who makes me laugh. From her designer shoes and clothes, with make-up to match, she does not fit in with the women of Arkansas. They wear whatever is comfortable and come up with things to eat that only they can love. (You have to read about when they ladies of the Church invited Midge to their pot-luck supper!)
Eli has been in a nursing home for several months, and his health is rapidly deteriorating. He has Alzheimer's Disease, but Adam goes to see his grandfather practically everyday. Even though Eli isn't coherent usually, Adam just talks and is there for him so he's not so lonely. They talk their own secret language, Yiddish. No one else in his family can figure out what they're saying, so that makes it an even more special time for them both.
Adam hopes he and his family won't have to stay long in this backwards town. They are so different from the people here that he doesn't fit in. But when a few people decide to let Adam in on some town secrets, things are really going to change for him. Even though losing his grandfather was the worst time in his life, thre are other things that can make him happy
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Reader Reviews for "A Perfect Fit"
|Reviewed by Kathy Bosworth
|You are a very funny man Richard. I loved your excerpt and look forward to reading the entire book. This one looks like it has it all. Good luck to you.|