Susan’s Book Talk: The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green


While we were busy with the Debut a Debut contest, I snuck in a debut, too, albeit an older one. Joshua Braff’s The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green is a book I’d wanted to read since I first heard about it and come on, how can your resist a book whose cover copy talks about a drawing of a rabbi, a pig, and a lobster in a threesome?

My book club agreed to this adventure, I collected a few copies — because getting books is sometimes a pain — and we read Jacob’s story.

The book is billed as a modern-day Portnoy’s complaint and I was expecting Jacob to be similar to Portnoy in that his teenagered sexual awakening dominated things. Nope. Instead, this book is about Jacob’s relationships with his father and, ultimately, with his brother. And while absolutely nothing in my background is similar to Jacob’s — well, okay, we’ve got that religion thing going — I got this book so totally, I cried through the final confrontation scene.

As for the ending, I got that, too.

This is one of those don’t miss books. You can be sure I’ll be picking up copies at used book stores and sales and sharing them with you guys. Assuming you wisely decide you can’t wait that long.

Just be prepared: the rabbi, the lobster, and the pig aren’t the major players you sort of wish they’d be. Sadly.



  1. Andrew

    February 27, 2007 7:45 pm

    The lobster and others are strange enough, but you said this book made you cry, so it really does sound like one worth picking up. I’ll check it out!

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    February 27, 2007 7:47 pm

    Not many books make me cry like that. I think the last was House of the Spirits, which I read in 1992, I think it was…

  3. Amy Ruttan

    February 27, 2007 8:06 pm

    Now that’s something you don’t think of everyday, a rabbi, pig and lobster. Just from that you’ve intrigued me. I haven’t cried from a book since I read “Rilla of Ingelside” by L.M. Montgomery about Anne’s children going off to war. Aw darn, I’m getting teary eyed now.

  4. littlebirdblue

    February 27, 2007 11:37 pm

    Susan!BR/BR/somehow, your blog punishes me for sins unnamed and unremembered by often refusing to allow me to link properly from your page.BR/BR/I couldn’t get the book link to the Powell’s site to work–just an error message.BR/BR/It’s just me, isn’t it?BR/BR/No links want me at their parties. Links don’t like me. I’m the on-line Eyeore.

  5. spyscribbler

    February 28, 2007 12:26 am

    Wow. I love a book that can make me cry. Not many! I will definitely try to find this one tomorrow!

  6. Susan Helene Gottfried

    February 28, 2007 8:51 am

    Birdie, the link didn’t work because it was suffering from “Trying to type around a cat body”-itis. I’ve fixed it; try again.BR/BR/Guys, you NEED to read this book. I just… I got it. That’s all I can really say. I got it.

  7. karen!

    February 28, 2007 11:03 am

    “Trying to type around a cat body”-itis… at least I’m not the only one. Though the worst is when the cat sits on the mouse and somehow manages to highlight and delete whatever you’ve just written…BR/BR/Anyway, this sounds like an amazing book. And, I know you think I’ll like it because I know you’re sending me a copy! 😀

  8. Susan Helene Gottfried

    February 28, 2007 11:48 am

    I replaced my mouse with a touchpad for JUST THAT reason, you know. He finds other places to sit that are just as bad.BR/BR/There is NO outsmarting a determined cat, I tell you!

  9. Thomma Lyn

    February 28, 2007 4:11 pm

    Ai yi yi! Another book to add to my “Gotta Get” list. It sounds wonderful. I love books that make me cry, and how can one go wrong with a moving book which has a lobster in it, too? 🙂

  10. karen!

    March 1, 2007 3:21 pm

    EMUTJG/EM is now on Mt. TBR. 🙂

  11. West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » Susan’s Book Talk: 2007 Reading Roundup

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