Kasher in the Rye aka Total Empathy Overload



I decided to use my Audible credit this month on Kasher in the Rye – The True Tale of a White Boy Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and then Turned 16 after listening Moshe Kasher on Pete Holme’s podcast, You Made it Weird, while enjoying a medium soup. (I highly encourage you to listen to the episode here ). I wasn’t really prepared for what I would get. I had seen Kasher’s standup and liked it, and listening to him chat with Pete Holmes was a pleasure.

Kasher in the Rye is the raw account of a kid, so much like a ton of the kids we all saw/were/were friends with in high school and junior high. It made me remember all the crazy feelings that swarm inside of a teenager, how huge and looming life is and how scary it can be sometimes. (and I was the most boring of possible kids) It also made me remember those kids in sharp detail, and the agony they were walking around with, just going through their day.

As an adult, it made me feel something totally different than it would have when I was the same age as the author was in the book. When I was a teen, I would have just understood the emotion and the fear that he was feeling. Now, I just wanted to reach into the book and give the kid a hug. It put my empathy on overdrive. I could see more clearly the frustration and fear of the adults around him, not knowing what to do with a kid who was so off track.

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book that I know I would have read, or in this case listened to (I got the audio tape) so differently depending on the point I was in in my life. It was a fascinating experience.

I feel like reading this book would be fine, but listening to it adds a whole different dimension to the experience. Kasher reads it himself, and there are a lot of moments that wouldn’t be half as funny or insightful without his voice. It is harsh and sarcastic at times and at others really vulnerable and full of emotion.

Kasher in the Rye definitely gets an endorsement from me, just know that it’s an emotional read/listen and make sure you’re up for it.



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