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Book Review— Mental: Funny in the Head, by Eddie Sarfaty

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08/10/2009

I am an incredibly avid reader of fiction, but when I venture into the land of non-fiction, I am usually looking for a book that I can relate to in some way. Thus grew my interest in the debut book of Eddie Sarfaty, a fellow gay Jew. Okay, so Eddie, a comedian who has a steady gig in Provincetown, Mass, is really nothing like me, a cantor. But hey, I did go to Provincetown once for a day, and I loved it!

If you like David Sedaris, you will definitely go for this book. Sarfaty's writing in "Mental: Funny in the Head," has a similar style, and while the stories are a bit off-the-wall, they are still believable. A close-up look at a lot of family drama and his life's escapades, the book often ventures along the path of his dating and love life. Any reader is sure to revel in amusement at the first chapter, where he comes out to his grandmother in the company of his sarcastic and loud-mouthed mother— clearly surrounded by Jewish neurosis to the max. You may still find yourself trying to self-identify with his family at times, even if they are a bit over-the-top. Watch a short film based off this story here.

The rest of the stories in the book tell of Sarfaty's daunting adventure to return an adopted cat gone wild, of his frustrations with his incredibly cheap ex-boyfriend, and of his semi-chaotic trips to Paris and London with his parents and grandmother. He also writes about his former job as a bartender at a gay bar for well-to-do, older clientele on the Upper East Side of New York.

In his writing, Sarfaty is pretty much no-holds-barred, and I found that sometimes he shared more than I needed to know, but the book does have many funny parts and was an enjoyable read.

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