Robert Bennett, Jules Shell and Nick Kroll with a foreword by The Village People
You don’t need to be a Jew to appreciate this glorious collection. Bennett et al. collected thousands of Bar and Bat Mitzvah photos from the 60’s through the 80’s. And lord are they hideous. Acres of acne, mounds of poof sleeves and blue eye shadow, braces gleaming left and right and horrible, horrible photos of People Who Cannot Dance getting down. Oy! And yet, it is so fun. The writers and their “subjects” gleefully share stories of the preparation for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, parental melt-downs, the careful choosing of the guest-list, the special outfit (special ruffled socks made to match the ruffled dress), the pathetic attempts at learning enough Hebrew to get through the reading (you know you are a reform Jew when the reading is spelled phonetically – Bah-ruk Add-on-i) and the gobs of cash and gifts. Perhaps what I enjoyed most about the book is the lack of snarkiness (I know, it’s a first). The only jokes made are by the participants themselves. Even the DJ is skintight, shiny purple spandex pants and tweed jacket gets only a tiny bit of ribbing. Enjoy, browse, remember ghastly middle school dances, birthday blow-outs and the horror and humor of being 13. As an added bonus, there is a great “where are they now” section at the end of the book. See, there is hope for any 13 year old dork! Ohhh, and the site says a video documentary is on the way. Joy!