Jewish Values: Inconvenient

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Number of Pages: 
305 p.
15 year old Alyssa's parents are Russian-Jewish immigrants. As she tells this sad and powerful story, her mother becomes an alcoholic and her life becomes a nightmare as she cares for her mother, covers for her, tries to conceal her drinking, and, most difficult, feels abandoned by both of her parents. Her high school experiences are an integral part of the story and they provide a not very happy counterpoint to the family tragedy. Written with deep feeling, fully developed characters, a riveting plot, and an authentic depiction of the speech and interests of many contemporary teenagers, Inconvenient concludes realistically - with some hope but no happy ending. Alyssa is a memorable character who changes in the course of the novel and readers will empathize with her. The Jewish content is slight and there are aspects of the novel – the smutty dialogue, the teenage characters’ absorption with sex, and the useless parents and teachers - that may make it unacceptable to some adults. That would be a shame because it is an authentic and powerful probing of personal and family issues.
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Sydney Taylor Winner: 
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