I was really excited to read this because I’d never seen another book that combined looking at Judaism and Autism through a memoir lens. Unfortunately this book was just not for me and I ended up irritated and forcing myself to finish it. It’s a pretty short book and a third of it is sermons and poetry, which for me took away from the actual memoir portion. Yoreh is extremely into poetry and I know this is a personal issue, but I am not a huge poetry person so the focus on poetry throughout the book didn’t interest me. I also think I just didn’t click with him as a person, which is probably a personality clash more than anything broadly wrong with the book. I’m sure for someone this will be really insightful and moving, and I’m glad he wrote it since we can use more Autistic Jewish memoirs. It just rubbed me the wrong way.
I think part of the issue is that while I am completely on board with people being Atheist Jews, as the spectrum and diversity of Judaism is really beautiful, I was excited to read from the point of view of a rabbi and wasn’t expecting him to be a complete atheist and somewhat scornful of the concept of G-d. I did find it interesting that his wife believes in G-d and I wish he’d explored that more. He also mentioned several times that he used to be very angry and wasn’t anymore, but his tone and behavior, especially towards his father, suggested otherwise. Anger is an emotion I struggle with and I think his underlying anger also made this a challenging read for me. The sections about his Autism were interesting but again, since it was such a short book, I didn’t really learn anything new. Overall, this book felt underdeveloped and I wish it was both longer and more thoughtful. Again, I am sure someone else will love this, but it just didn’t work for me personally.