The Shiksa Syndrome
A good Jewish husband is hard to find --- but only if you're a
single Jewish woman. If you're a Shiksa, a non-Jewish lady,
preferably a blonde Barbie-doll type, then Jewish husbands are
pretty easy to come by. It's a fact of life that Aimee Albert has
grown used to it, but that doesn't mean she has to like it. Even
her best friend, Krista, has managed to snare a Jewish man of her
own. And, oh yeah, Krista isn't even Jewish!
Aimee is excited to meet handsome Josh Hirsch, who is just what
she’s looking for. He’s young, good-looking, heir to
his family's bread empire and, best of all, Jewish. Unfortunately,
he is not interested in Jewish girls or the JAP, Jewish American
Princess, as he labels them. According to him, Jewish women are
high-maintenance, bossy and just way too much trouble. He wants a
Shiksa of his own.
Fortunately for Aimee and unfortunately for Josh, due to her
recent change in hairstyle and a pair of colored contact lenses, he
mistakes her for a Shiksa. When she realizes what has happened, she
decides to play along and worry about the consequences later. Oh,
what consequences they are!
Aimee's little deception begins innocently enough, but as she
and Josh grow closer, a little white lie takes on a life of its own
and then grows to epic proportions. The worst thing is, Aimee loves
being Jewish. It's the only reason she stooped to lying in the
first place. Now she has to hide the very thing she is eager to
While Josh looks good on paper, the reality isn't necessarily
all that Aimee hoped for. He isn't nearly as connected to his
heritage as she is. In fact, it seems like something he'd rather
forget most of the time. She finds herself creating one lie after
another to maintain her identity as a Protestant Shiksa from
Scranton, Pennsylvania, rather than a Jewish girl from New York
She even involves an unwilling Krista, denies her true
relationship with her sister, packs away anything in her apartment
that would identify her as Jewish, and shops for white bread, bakes
casseroles and stops eating bagels, all in order to maintain her
facade as the Shiksa Josh desires.
As her family and friends begin to learn of her deception, they
become increasingly put out with her, to the point of staging a
Shiksa intervention to try and regain the Aimee they all know and
love instead of this stranger who has taken her place. They needn't
have bothered, though, because, truth be told, Aimee's own
conscience is getting to her. She's irritated that Josh, who
doesn't even value Judaism, is able to be openly Jewish, while she,
the one it matters to most, is in a position of hiding the truth
even if it is her own fault.
In the end, the truth comes out in a hilarious way, and Aimee is
forced to face up to her own feelings about being Jewish and what
she is really looking for in a relationship.
THE SHIKSA SYNDROME is a funny and entertaining read. Once I
picked it up, I couldn't put it down and actually finished it on
the same day. Now I'm eager to get my hands on Laurie Graff's other
novels, YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS and LOOKING FOR MR.
GOODFROG. If they're half as good as THE SHIKSA SYNDROME, I have
some great reading ahead.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 23, 2011
The Shiksa Syndrome
- Publication Date: October 7, 2008
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Broadway
- ISBN-10: 0767927613
- ISBN-13: 9780767927611