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The Shiksa Syndrome by Laurie Graff

In General Fiction on July 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Title: The Shiksa Syndrome
Author: Laurie Graff
Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit
Rating: ***/****
ISBN: 0767927621

Although I’ve labeled this a 3-star review, I’d say parts of this novel required the reader to suspend their belief at times. Yes, it’s fiction, that’s what happens, but how could a 39 year old proud Jewish woman transform herself into a shiksa? Isn’t that degrading, especially when she’s doing this for a Jewish man who is prejudiced against Jewish women? Okay, if you suspend belief there, it’s an entertaining novel, even if Aimee’s actions are not easily understood.

What I got from this novel is how difficult it can be in regards to Jewish dating. Jewish men have an easier time finding non-Jews willing to convert, whereas Jewish women are fighting a losing battle between compromising & possibly having a struggle to raise any potential children Jewish in a mixed marriage, & trying desperately to find a Jewish man who feels the same way about their religion & culture. I could sympathize a lot with Aimee, because every woman has her own difficulties in life in regards to dating & has to wonder if it’s worth it to lie a little here & there to make yourself more suitable to potential matches. (Bleached blondes do this all the time.)

I read a blurb about this book a few years ago, so what finally drove me to reading it was wondering what would happen to Aimee’s relationship once her Jewish man, Josh, found out his goy was more Yentl than Mary Sue. I won’t spoil the ending, but I found it to be realistic & inspiring in a way.

A warning though from reading other reviews from Jews & Gentiles alike, some found the stereotypes to be cruel. I was left wondering why Aimee’s shiksa friend Krista (who is dating a Jewish man) couldn’t understand why Aimee was pretending, seeing that she could observe throughout the novel very prejudiced statements from Jewish men directed at Jewish women. Also, her insensitive questions about the attractiveness of shiksas vs. Jewesses was insulting while giving Aimee full knowledge of her boyfriend’s low opinion of Jewesses was unbelievable. Even with my belief suspended, I couldn’t understand why Aimee didn’t smack the back of her blonde head for being so tactless.

One last thing: Who the hell gave the author the idea that non-Jews don’t refrigerate butter? Seriously.

One other last thing: She dyes her hair red, why did they make the cover blonde? Oh was that to make it more appealing in terms of what constitutes a stereotype of a shiksa? Nonsense.