Sunday 21 August 2016

Book ~ "On Herring Cove Road: Mr. Jew and the Goy Boy" (2014) Michael Kroft

From Goodreads ~ Mr. Rosen, once an amusing extrovert with a reputation as a prankster, is entering his senior years as a stoic, thirty-year converted introvert who hates change, has little to no interest in people and is more than content to have his wife sit at the navigator’s seat of his life. Since becoming a practising introvert, there have been almost no changes in his life, and for the few that there were, his wife had walked him through them, including the recent move to a much smaller home in a lower/middle class neighbourhood where he lives directly next-door to a racist whose nine-year old son addresses him as Mr. Jew.

Mr. Rosen had seen the move coming and he is very much aware of the enormous change to come sometime in the, hopefully, far off future; though, he refuses to give it any attention. That change will come on slowly and painfully and will eventually force him to chart his own life’s route.

This heartwarming, feel-good novel offers a rollercoaster ride of emotion as Mr. Rosen's world of habitual routine begins to implode while on a collision course with the chaotic world of an innocent child, its troubled mother and vengeful father.

Mr. and Mrs. Rosen are in their mid-60s.  Mr. Rosen owns a chain of drug stores in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Mrs. Rosen, because of health issues, is now a housewife.  Downsizing, they have recently moved into a smaller house which is easier for Mrs. Rosen to take care of.  Mr. Rosen is an introvert and his happy letting his more extroverted wife direct his life.

Next door to the Rosens are the Dixons.  Because their nine-year-old son, Dewey, always calls Mr. Rosen "Mr. Jew", Mr. Rosen ignores the boy.  But an accident brings the two families together and Mr. Rosen discovers that Dewey's father is a racist and Dewey is innocently repeating what he hears from his father.  Dewey and his mother, Lisa, become friends the Rosens, and Mr. Rosen's world opens up.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  The story takes place in the mid-1970s in Spryfield, a community in Halifax where my sister lives (so I've driven on some of the roads and been to some of the places mentioned in the book).  It's before computers (they played old-school games like Trouble and Monopoly), cell phones, etc.  The Rosens don't have a TV and spend a lot of their time reading books.

I liked the writing style and connected with the characters.  I liked that the story took place in the present (well, the 1970s) and jumped back to tell the background stories of Avriel and Ruth Rosen and Lisa and Paul Dixon.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

It is the first in the "Herring Cove Road" series and I look forward to reading the other three.

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