PLAYING RIGHT FIELD: A Jew Grows in Greenwich

George Tabb, Author . Soft Skull $13.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-932360-40-0

Fistfights, bodily functions and raucous comedy fill this thin, episodic childhood memoir from a seminal New York City punk musician (Furious George)/journalist (The New York Press ). Tabb was a nice Brooklyn-born Jewish boy who, after his parents' divorce, was forcibly relocated by his father to Connecticut's rarefied, WASPy suburbs. "Greenwich didn't like Jews," Tabb writes, "but for some reason, my father liked Greenwich." Facing what he found to be a hostile and frequently anti-Semitic community, young Tabb stood his ground, even when (as it often did) it meant he was beaten to a pulp. He eventually earned some respect by shoving a pair of hooligans out the back of a moving school bus; he earned some more by punching out a Little League first baseman and sparking a bench-clearing brawl. When he wasn't defending his heritage, Tabb was blundering through more conventional pratfalls of childhood: puking on carnival rides, ogling older girls and torturing local wildlife (one particularly uproarious vignette involves an ax, a rifle and a giant turtle's Rasputin-like refusal to die). Underlying all the raw humor is Tabb's clear pain over his parents' divorce and a searing rage against his abusive father. Some tales require suspension of disbelief (e.g., was Tabb really sexually assaulted by a monstrous dog? Did his school principal really help him get back at a blind bully?). On the whole, however, Tabb's wry recollections of growing up will be darkly funny and all-too-familiar to anyone who still smarts at memories of middle school. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Nonfiction
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