Book review of Boychick by Richard L. Decof


Boychick is a series of related short stories, telling the tale of Harold “Boychick” Silverman from birth to marriage. The author considers that many Jewish stories lack history, so he has written of his origins in Eastern Europe, the family’s arrival and life in the United States.

The author has a fine turn of phrase and an easy way of writing, I was put off at first by there being 219 pages but I finished it easily one morning. My favourite sentences came near the beginning, in the first story:  Boychick’s was a strange convoluted creative mind that danced with reality, but changed partners often. It was a four-walled racquetball court kind of mind with little blue rubber ideas bouncing in all directions.

The stories are told by a neighbour My family name is Langameintza, which in Yiddish means long story. Pardon my accent – I vasn’t born here in America. Neighbors and friends call me “The Shpeiler”, an honorary Yiddish title meaning storyteller.

I searched for a Liberal Jewish part to these tales, the author only has a few mentions of the tension between Orthodoxy and American Reform. 

Lynn’s father, Grandpa Ben, became hysterical when he heard that his little grandson Harold was in the hospital. …. Ben openly wept and prayed every day. He even dusted off his tallit and yarmulke so he could attend Shabbat service in the Orthodox shul, just in case his switch to Reform Judaism might be the cause of God’s anger. “Take Me, God. I’m old. I’ve lived my life. Esther…Esther,…what does HE want with our little Harold?”

Then the child becomes a teenager, preoccupied with girls, kept busy at school but like me mostly a daydreamer. Those of a nervous disposition may find there is too much mention of the relative merits of the different teenage girls in his life but this is a very human story, rooted in Yiddishkeit. 

Richard also asks writers to contribute to future projects. For the first collection, he wants an original short story about family, growing up or something emotionally moving and heart-warming. For the second collection, an original story about a vivid dream of a past life, or deja vu that came true, or a memoir of a late relative. His  email is [email protected]

Book review of Boychick by Richard L. Decof. Published by Amazon/Kindle, September 2019, expanded edition, June 2020. Reviewed by Alison Turner
LJ (Liberal Judaism) Magazine
London, England

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Jewish Review or its members.

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