"Jill Wasserstrom, a studious and idealistic eighth-grader at Chicago's Boone Elementary School, is preparing to defend the Ayatollah Khomeini in a school debate, and then sabotage her Bat Mitzvah." "Her best friend, Muley Wills, is in live with her, though he can't understand her obsession with Iran. He himself is obsessed with a figure of his imagination: a long-lost cousin, the alluring Soviet defector Peachy Moskowitz, the unpredictable and hugely popular subject of his weekly monologue on Public Radio's Young Town Kids." "Larry Rovner, a high school senior and newly observant Jew, wants to make it as a rock star, composing Jewish-themed hits to impress girls and get Michelle Wasserstrom to sleep with him. Michelle has her sights on the stage - if she can only graduate from high school. Larry's sister Lana is bent on undermining everyone around her and getting a perfect score on her school report on Marie Curie so her father will make good on his bribe of a trip to Paris." "California Avenue, in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, separates the upper-middle-class Jewish families on the west from the mostly middle-class Jewish households east of the divide. This novel tells the story of three families - parents Charlie Wasserstrom, Michael and Ellen Rovner, and Deirdre Wills, and their teenage children, living on either side of California. It follows their loves, heartaches, friendships, and losses during a memorable and defining moment of American history." "Spanning the Iran hostage crisis through he inauguration of Ronald Reagan as president, Crossing California is look at the end of an era, the turning point when the idealism of the sixties gave way to the pragmatism of the eighties."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Poignant, ambitious, and tremendously fun, Crossing Californiais the fiction discovery of the season-a novel about two generations of family and friendship in Chicago from November 1979 through January 1981. In 1979 California Avenue, in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, separates the upper-middle-class Jewish families from the mostly middle-class Jewish residents on the east of the divide. This by turns funny and heartbreaking first novel tells the story of three families and their teenage children living on either side of California, following their loves, heartaches, and friendships during a memorable moment of American history. Langer's captivating portraits, his uncanny and extraordinarily vivid re-creation of a not-so-past time and place, and his pitch-perfect dialogue all make Crossing California certain to evoke memories and longing in its readers-as well as laughter and anxiety. Whether viewed as an American Graffitifor the seventies, The(Jewish) Corrections, a Chicagoan Manhattan, or early Philip Roth for a later generation, Crossing Californiais an unforgettable, and thoroughly enjoyable, contribution to contemporary fiction.