I'm not really comfortable going in-depth about the religious aspect of this book- and the whole book is about religion. Many rabbis and public leaders in the Jewish faith have spoken out against Auslander's writings, so this book will definitely offend certain people.
As a gentile (with a parent who converted later in their life) I found this book educational in a way and very, very funny. The way Auslander "talks" to "God" is shocking, funny and very raw- he basically suspects he'll always get screwed around the corner and begs God to leave his pregnant wife and their child alone. He writes the book from staring at his pregnant wife- certain she'll die in labor or the child will or the baby will be deformed- and he goes back to his childhood and we find out how his viewpoint was shaped that way.
There's a ton of sex, bad language and "offensive" behavior in this book- but there's also a ton of heart and some of the most emotionally honest memoir writing I've ever read. The book is also hilarious if you're not easily offended.
As a person who spends a lot of time with VERY religious jews I found this book to be illuminating - showing that even those that rock the taliat struggle with their beliefs. I heartly recommend it.
I found myself laughing out loud throughout the entire book. Yes, he's completely irreverent. But being raised a strict Catholic, I could relate to his love/hate relationship with both God and his religion. Very funny and naughty.
I loved this book, the author says, "I believe in God, it's been a real problem for me." That sums up my relationship with the transcendent. I laughed at this book all the while understanding that I had a kindred spirit in my quest for understanding the cosmos. Some would not appreciate the author's humor, but he was real. This is not a book for a fundamental person to read, unless they are ready to jettison their current believe system. I read this book in a week, it was a good read.
Auslander opens his book by announcing his wife is expecting their first child. However, after having read this poorly written "memoir", I fear for the well being and safety of this child. Auslander plays up his "I'm the victim" role without taking any responsibility for his own actions. Everything he does is someone else's fault, be it his parents, his siblings, his friends, or even some nice young couples who tried to invite him and his wife over for sabbath dinner.
This book seems largely fabricated as well, or at least I hope that it is because I find it hard to believe someone could be this whiny and self-absorbed in real life. I'm glad I didn't buy this book, because I would hate to have such a person profit off me. For a respectful look at Orthodox Jews and religion, read A. J. Jacobs " The Year of Living Biblically".
I work with many Hasidic Jews and live in the neighborhood the author grew up in, so for the first 1/4 of the book I found it amusing. As the book droned on, it became more obscene and offensive and reinforced what I have always believed, that cult -like religious adherence, no matter what religion, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.. warps people. When you stop thinking and blindly follow "the rules" you give up your free will. Mr. Auslander and his many neurosis is one extreme and the many unhappy people I serve in the hospital are the other. Don't waste your time on this book!
I bailed on page 109. Life is just too short to read terrible books like this. I would never have chosen to read this memoir except it was the featured book of the month for my book discussion group. Of the 10 people in the group that read it only one of those people enjoyed it. It is written by a guy that was raised as an Orthodox Jew. The entire book is him whining about how traumatized he is by his jewishness. Oh, and his father was abusive. Really, don't waste your time with this trash.