You will never guess the juiciest part of The Black Hole Pastrami!!!

The Black Hole Pastrami and Other Stories by Jeffrey Feingold

Review of The Black Hole Pastrami  by Jeffrey M. Feingold

Quick, can you tell me the difference between clickbait and a strong opening line? The former creates a curiosity gap by hinting that there is a really important question to which you will only learn the answer if you read the article, and it is baiting you to clamp on. It is a cheat as it makes you feel like you are missing out if you don’t follow your urges and start devouring the piece immediately. (See my futile attempt at a quickbait tile above.) A strong opening line of a piece of writing is very different, though. It promises the opening of a new world and new excitement. It is similar to clickbait in that it arouses curiosity, too. But it is not aggressive and gives you a choice whether you want to follow up. One of Jeffrey M. Feingold’s many literary talents is creating such drama in a few words that you want to know what it all means. Let me share my top five opening lines from this short story collection, and you will see what I mean:

  • The Nazis never did catch me.
  • I once was the Chief Operating Officer of the hippiest business in America.
  • Did you ever wake up at the crack of dawn to find Bruce Willis, naked from head to toe, bald as a newborn baby, as mad as a bull, standing by the foot of your bed?
  • My maternal grandfather was a Jewish mobster at the turn of the 20th century.
  • My Aunt Millie was a thief. She was large and loving, warm and wonderful.

Feingold is a master of not just oneliners. His writing fulfilled my thirst for fascinating characters, complex relationships and gripping actions too.  By the time I finished the book, I realized that they were puzzle pieces. Yes, each story stands on its own, but taken all together, they form more than a collection as their interlocking pieces create a coherent larger picture. From this, I could learn the outline of an enchanting Jewish/Ukrainian/American family. Their intergenerational interconnectedness is a traditional pattern that also plays out nicely in the modern, new world. The father-son (and then son-father), grandmother-grandson, husband-wife, and dog-owner-child relations are just some of the things we get a worthy peek inside. The tender love each is exposed to is the main feature to look out for as you progress reading this heartwarming book.

OK, the writing, the people, and the stories are captivating. If for nothing else, I would recommend the book for those as it is a fun, easy, yet deep read. But is there anything beyond them, or as intelligent people often ask, what can we learn from it? For me, that is not the right question; this is: How does it make you feel? I admit I am not the best at recalling what happened in a book. But I am much more likely to remember how I felt about it. You should see my face when I think of this book: I am sure you will see a warm smile. The reason is that it makes me appreciate people, family, and dogs, too. The characters are in the book and in my own life as well. A hint there, a gesture here, a smile over there, and a deep, oft-fulfilled longing for giving and receiving love are the feelings that will linger after you finish the book. And it is all good in the most positive sense of the word.

The problem with clickbait titles and the corresponding articles is that they will leave you unsatisfied. Sooner or later, you realize that the not-so-secret answer is worthless and you were not interested in that information in the first place. This book has the exact opposite effect. It left me deeply satisfied and content. It made my day, so give yourself the gift of elevating your day by reading this funny book.

The author’s website and Facebook page and Instagram account.

Disclaimer: I have received a digital copy of this book and a small amount from the author which did not affect my review in any way.

Year first published: 2023

The book's page at the publisher's site

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