Jewish Values: Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz, The

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339 p.
Teenage Amy’s emails to a friend who has moved away reveal the daily doings of a quirky character, a smart, socially awkward, self-deprecating, Jewish eighth grader in Manhattan. As the story progresses, Amy moves from pain to jealousy, resenting her friend’s acclimatization to her new life in the Midwest. As Amy hopes for her friend’s return, she delves into a school history project about a Jewish immigrant. The project takes her to sites in New York intertwined with Jewish history, and connects Amy to an elderly neighbor and the neighbor’s Orthodox nephew. The plot action is as wide ranging; Amy’s opinions range further. Amy is nasty about her family; hilarious about their Jewish practices. There is a point to the fun: Amy learns the meaning of friendship and the value of belonging to groups below the social radar. The novel comfortably incorporates positive Jewish identity, ever on view in locations, actions, dialogue.
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