zade reviewed Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods (P.S.) on
Helpful Score: 1
This is not just a book of Yiddish phrases. It is an in-depth study of the ways that the Yiddish language has been influenced and in turn has influenced Jewish culture. Wex has a delightful way of incorporating humor, history, and serious scholarship into his narrative, so that the reader learns a ton on every page while being greatly entertained.
"So, did I like this book, you ask? Let me tell you...my enemies should never enjoy such a book! "Throughout history, Jews around the world have had plenty of reasons to lament and kvetch. And for a thousand years, they've had the perfect language for it. Yiddish has proven incredibly useful and durable." Featuring chapters of curse words, food, sex, and even death, the book is full of wit, knowledge, history and hilarity. You'll not only learn a lot, you'll be laughing while you're learning. This is the book that FINALLY answers the question, "how many words are there for "penis" and why? Many years ago when I was in High School, I asked a fellow classmate whose parents were European Jews to teach me something in Yiddish so I could surprise my beloved grandmother. He taught me a phrase, and I practiced with him for days. When I next saw my grandma, I told her, with as much heartfelt expression as a 14 year old could muster, "Bubbie, solst vaksn vi a tsibele, mitn kop in dr'erd." (Translation: You should only grow like an onion--with your head in the ground.) It did not go over well and although Bubbie forgave me, I've never forgiven my classmate. As much as you'll want to keep this book in your library, you'll probably want to pass it on too, so your family and friends can enjoy it as much as you.