Cohen's wistful novel evokes the intense vulnerability of love and the shattering pain of loss.
"I must say I have never read a book by Leah Hager Cohen but this must take the cake! It is absolutely enthralling. It used great imagery and at times made my head spin with flashbacks! I loved the book...until the end! I must say Heart, You Bully, You Punk seemed to end rather abruptly...but all in all its a rather good book." amazon
"Prickly" Iphegenia Julia Esker, a math teacher at a private Brooklyn high school, is the guarded figure at the heart of this accomplished, lovingly crafted and somewhat suffocating novel by Cohen, whose previous books include the novel Heat Lightning and the poignant memoir Train Go Sorry. Esker (she goes by her last name) begins tutoring a brilliant and potentially troubled math student at home after Ann James's fall from school bleachers ("I was kind of nudged from the inside") leaves her wheelchair-bound with two broken heels. Ann adores her teacher and wants her father, the kindly, semimarried restaurant owner, Wally James, and Esker to get acquainted. Though Esker has lived a hermitlike existence for nine years, ever since her beloved Albert Rose, then 22, married the girl his family expected him to, Wally is able to get past Esker's defenses and make her, momentarily anyway, "baskingly, destabilizingly happy" in this odd tale of love and loneliness. As if Esker's natural resistance to happiness weren't enough, the Prospect School frowns on her nascent relationship with Wally, and Wally's wife (and Ann's mother), who left three years ago to act in independent films, visits at Christmas. Quirky, moving, and exquisitely written, a magical book about what we dare ourselves to do when faced with the startling prospect of love.
Ok. I wasn't crazy about the book.