Sex, druges and gefilte fishSex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish: The Heeb Storytelling Collection edited by Shana Liebman

In the preface, Liebman writes, “So here in all their well-deserved published glory are the stories of nerds, ex-girlfriends, liars, rockers, goody goodies, sex fiends, neurotics and yes, summer campers. The authors are not all Jewish, but their stories are…sort of.”

The stories in this collection are both hilarious and honest, they’re vulgar and sentimental. They run the gamut from a broken-hearted Bigfoot to  a “gay” Bar Mitzvah to discussing politics with Grandma. The writers discuss their love lives, their careers and, of course, their families.  I’m not Jewish, but I could still relate to many of the stories and laugh out loud along with the writers.

One especially warm afternoon on summer break from college, I found myself sitting on the steps of a Conservative Jewish synagogue, eating ice cream. It seemed natural to experience a vague sense of guilt about this. For all my ignorance of Old Testament laws, enjoying a snack in front of a temple could reasonably be considered some kind of decadent affront to God—but since it was very hot and the ice cream was delicious, I just stored this incident in my mental “to atone  for” list and continued licking.

A few peaceful minutes passed, then suddenly the synagogue doors burst open and the rabbi came running outside, heading right toward me shouting my name. Thinking fast, I tossed my ice cream cone to the ground and screamed,”Unholy temptation, be gone!” (pg. 127 “Helping Hand ” by Todd Levin)

There are close to fifty stories in this collection, tales from writers, comedians, actors, artists and musicians. It’s a book that will appeal to many, with its irreverent outlook on life, both spiritual and secular. It’s a funny, funny book. I found myself picking it up every time I glanced at it to read just one more story. Of course, the “just one more” turned into two or three or four.  I also had to share bits and pieces with my husband, who sometimes laughed and sometimes looked at me like I was crazy. I have to admit to having a slightly off-beat sense of humor.

The giveaway:

Interested? Thanks to Hachette Book Group, who sent me my advance reading copy, I’ve got five copies to give away. To enter, just leave me a comment below by October 25. I’ll announce the winners on the 26th. Sharing somewhere, somehow will get you an extra entry or two, just make sure to let me know. This one’s open to the US and Canada only, no PO boxes and you need to be 18+.


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