Adele Rothstein

(creator: Anna King)

Anna King

Adele Rothstein is 75 years old, and the mother of a rabbi in an Orthodox shul in New York City, although she herself did not believe in God. However, "she saw stuff and felt things that weren't entirely rational." She could, for example, "tell when a man or woman had been unfaithful to their spouse" - and could see "a light, thin and lemon-colored " pulsing between two young lovers. She was "strong and flexible from having done yoga for years .... Her healing and distance eyesight were excellent, although she did have to use reading glasses." She was still slim, and, having buried three husbands, still "experienced desire for men" and rejoiced in being "a real sexpot."

Anna King is one of the pen names used by Josephine Carr (c1952 - ) who grew up in Washington, D.C., then moved, aged 13, to Nairobi, Kenya. After two years at Loreto Convent, she went on to the College du Leman boarding school in Geneva, Switzerland. She graduated in English Literature from Mt. Holyoke College, then received her Master's degree in Eng Lit from Bryn Mawr College.
During graduate school, she married and had two children, Rachel and Daniel. Eventually, her marriage ended and she moved back to Washington, D.C. She has published a number of fiction titles and says that "her goal is to make the reading experience both pleasurable and shocking. That ís why I try to write funny." She explains that she is is not Jewish, but learnt about Judaism from her Jewish in-laws.

Adele, the Rabbi's Mother: Book One (2012)
Adele, the Rabbi's Mother: Book One describes how feisty old Adele Rothstein notices a mysterious black cloud engulfing a handsome teenager named Sol (short for Solomon) in her rabbi son's synagogue on a Friday night, so rushes off and interrupts him as he is about to make love to his girlfriend for the very first time. " I don't blame you for trying," she tells them, "but I got a bad feeling about it, so I had to stop you." But Sol, we are told, "could have sworn her big blue eyes were being flirtatious." She seems a rather unlikely 75-year-old.

Soon afterwards, Sol's mother is violently attacked and ends up unconscious in hospital, and, rather surprisingly, Adele and Sol work together to try to solve what happened. One of their early conclusions is that Sol's mother is deliberately staying in a coma as she is frightened what her attacker might do to her if she wakes up.

The emphasis in the story seems to be more on Sol and what he is doing, for Adele is distracted as her affections are torn between a handsome younger man and old Manny Horowitz who had once been the love of her life and whom she had left because he had wanted a blow job! The author is nothing if not explicit.

However, determined to get the Jewish background right, she overdoes the use of untranslated Yiddish words although the meaning of terms like tuchus (butt) and Hashem (God) become self-evident as you read on - but milf totally eluded me. Eventually I learnt from Google that it wasn't Yiddish at all but teenage slang for "mother I'd like to fuck". There's altogether too much about Adele's and Sol's sexual feelings. We are told that he even gets a hard-on when about to be murdered. The author explains she likes to shock her readers, but her preoccupation with Sol's (and Adele's) sex life seems a bit over the top.

Some of the best parts of the book are about the relationship of the various characters, with particularly realistic descriptions of the not too friendly clashes between Sol and his younger brother Abe. The weakest part is the eventual denouement when Sol manages to get himself kidnapped and almost murdered. There are lots of improbable events in the story, with the most incredible one of all being when Sol promises that if God wakes up his unconscious mother he will become a rabbi!

Adele herself, complete with psychic powers and the ability, she thinks, to look like Laureen Bacall, is quite an amusing character, and parts of the book are certainly fun to read, but the basic plot lacks conviction.

There is little about the author on the web apart from a short article on the Goodreads site.

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Adele, the Rabbi's Mother cover
The cover gives no real indication of the content.
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