The Mensch by Alan M Weber
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The World Needs a Mensch… But Stewie Blueschwitz will have to do. A somewhat nebbishy twelve year old, Stewie would have been a curious choice to be a novel’s protagonist, were it not for the one unique and hidden ability he discovers. Devoting it at first to his preadolescent fantasies, he comes to realize the potential for greater good. Against all odds, mostly his overbearing yenta of a mother, he aspires to become the first Jewish superhero, “The Mensch,” and, ultimately, to save the world.
The Mensch follows the Blueschwitz family for three generations, divided into separate “books.” We watch Stewart improbably grow up, marry and become a father. The legacy of this “gift” is continued through the subsequent stories of his precocious and resourceful daughter, Skye, and, then, her son James, who finds more interest in his writing than this unnecessary “burden.” As the story takes a twist, it leads to a climax that brings us full circle.
This delightful book is brimming with humor, sometimes heartwarming and oftentimes absurd. Writing is the hero here, including the most unexpected presence of a poem within a parable within a comedy. But humor is found everywhere, from the “Backword” rather than a Foreword (since Jewish people read from right to left), to the book’s in-character “about the author,” to the back cover faux “reviews.” And though the world needs a mensch, a little schtick couldn’t hurt either.
Year first published: 2023