Koplen, Don. “Jewboy of the South”, CreateSpace, 2017.
Because I am a gay Jew who was raised in the South, I looked forward to reading this. Not only was I astounded by the book’s inaccuracies, I was ashamed of the stereotypes here. The story goes something like this— Donny is a Jewish high school student in a small town in the Southern United States. We meet him as he is dealing with his religion, sex-life and the southern justice system’s false imprisonment of his black carpenter/philosopher hero. By accident, he learns that his girlfriend’s father, a prominent Klan minister, is having an affair with the Orthodox rabbi. Our characters here include Donny, his black prostitute friend, her war hero minister lover, and others who come together to free Donny’s hero.
This is not a book about being Jewish in the South, but an overlong look at self-obsession, raunchy vulgarity, and how many feel towards Southerners, blacks, and Jews. The characters and experiences they have are inauthentic. The sex scenes are pornographic and without feeling. The dialog is extremely vulgar and the prose is awful. Racist stereotypes are offensive. The Jewish characters are seen as liars, nasty and sex-starved. The rabbi comes is an ignoramus and unlike any rabbi that I have ever known. As for Jewishness what we do have, we see through Jewish caricatures. I have never read a book that is so self-indulgent. Overall, it is an “outrageous amalgam of Jews, Rednecks and African Americans”.