I was going to originally write this post during Passover. Though, I didn't quite finish one of the books in time and I wanted this to be a review of some good literature not something 'hokey pokey' just for Passover. Just because the three books happen to revolve around Passover somewhat, they are very different. What makes one book's usage of Passover Seders different from others? Let's find out.
Heather Greenblotz, the main character, is the heiress of the Greenblotz Matzoh company fortune. However, she doesn't want to merely sponge off of her inheritance; her main career is being a documentary film maker with her friend and business partner, Vondra Adams. Despite her family pedigree, a Heather Greenblotz Seder consists of her eating a ham and cheese sandwich in front of the tv, alone. Thus, the whole non-Seder and the fact that Heather doesn't talk to her family much, contradicts the Greenblotz franchise motto: 'Buy Greenblotz-Because family is everything'.
I give this book four out of five matzoh balls. It is funny and quirky, laugh out loud at times. However, I also cannot help to identify it somewhat as 'chic lit'. Now, I don't believe so much in that genre, but there are books that appeal more to women than men. There's a steamy (in my opinion), all too graphic sex scene. Sex really perfumes this book and keeps it into the land of light reading. What also keeps Shapiro's book from being more highbrow is the light-hearted fluffiness surrounding the female protagonist's perspective. Women in this book seem only to think about sex (so do the men by the way). The characters, however, are wild, fun-loving, and very cleverly drawn out. The whole Seder debacle reminds me of a Christopher Durang play, wacky with intelligent dialogue. I can see many scenes of this book, by the way, playing out on a theater stage. My wife tells me that there is rumor of a stage production in the works of Shapiro's book. How splendid! I think this book would translate really well to the stage and I'd pay good money to see it, like Jerry Springer meets Shalom in the Home.
Which brings me to point out how much I like that the voice is not distinctly male or female. Usually, you can tell what gender the author is. However, in this case, Michelle Haimoff might as well have been a pen name. The female voices are authentic, but so are the male ones. Both genders have their issues. I applaud Michelle Haimoff, especially in that she is a feminist blogger. However, it is refreshing to see that she is an authentic feminist in that she understands the complexities and complications behind men and women. She doesn't rail against men the entire time, nor does she present women as superior (though they are) and flaw-free. There is a balanced and truthful portrayal of both men and women in this book.