Tuesday, August 17, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks - Book 23: A Day of Pleasure

For a while we walked in silence. Then my father asked,  "Son, what has happened to you?" 

All the lamp posts became bent and all the lights foggy as my eyes filled with tears.  "Papa, I don't know."  

"You are growing up, my son. That is what is happening to you." And my father suddenly did something he had never done before: he bent down and kissed my forehead.

For the past few days I have had the pleasure of reading A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw by Isaac Bashevs Singer. Mr. Singer is a marvelous story teller who makes the everyday adventures and trials of his life as a young boy engaging. Mr. Singer brings you into his world as he reflects on his own life growing up in Warsaw. As a youngster, he seems to have enjoyed the present while looking to the future. He relates some of the difficulties of growing up in poverty and as a young Jewish boy, but he does not dwell on any one incident. Instead he tells of how a thousand small things formed his character and interests as he grew into a man. This book is an ideal read for a middle school aged young man, addressing many timeless transitions one makes in life, including changing relationships with family members and friends as well as the soul searching involved in deciding whether or not the faith of the parents will, indeed, become his very own faith.  The only fault I found with this book was the abrupt ending - there is really no warning that the tales are about to end, save a mention of Mr. Singer's age in the last chapter. However, that is how life works sometimes, isn't it? One day we feel so young and the next thing you know, we are all grown up.

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