I read this soon after it first came out, and I recently reread it for book club. I think I liked it even more this time than the first time, perhaps because since then I’ve done more reading about kabbalah, and about the history of the golum, and I’m more open to the mystical element of a story (the first time I read Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, I couldn’t get past the mysticism). So the ending didn’t bother me the way it did the first time I read it. As well, the first time I read this book, I wasn’t a parent, and this time I have a 13 year old boy, so that might have something to do with the fact that I loved the book even more the second time around. I was absolutely pulled into Michael’srelationship with Rabbi Hirsch and his relationship with his mom; I was intrigued by his maturity and independence; and I was scared by his life in the neighborhood, not able to imagine my 13 year old dealing with such violence and such pressure to disclose nothing of the violence that surrounds him. This is a sweet, sad, and ultimately uplifting story steeped in the history of the Holocaust, New York street gangs, the immigrant experience, the color barrier in baseball, and so much more. It’s a great way to learn history and tolerance through a work of fiction. I hope my son will read it next. (fiction)
My 13 year old son read this and really liked it. I think it’s such an important book for middle schoolers and high schoolers to read: shows so much about discrimination, religion, and boyhood friendships.