We’ve come to expect that books, even memoirs, by comedians will be… well, funny. That’s not the case with up-and-coming stand up Moshe Kasher’s autobiography of his childhood. Well, that’s not entirely true. There are some funny asides and anecdotes, but that’s a result of the author just being naturally humorous and self-deprecating. But on the whole, Kasher in the Rye is a dark look at a tragic childhood a result of being surrounded by abuse, drugs and bad decisions. But expectations be damned, the book is well worth reading.
The son of two deaf parents, Kasher’s mother, sick of being abused by her husband, took her two sons on “vacation” to California and never came back. His father stayed in NY, remarried and became part of a somewhat cloistered Orthodox Jewish sect. Kasher meanwhile dove head first into drugs and alcohol at 12 years old. Surrounded by bad influences, he stopped going to school and wound up in a mental institution by the time he hit 16. So, no, not exactly laugh out loud funny.
Kasher in the Rye is however refreshingly honest, at times cringe-worthy, and yes darkly funny here and there. Its equal parts tragedy and redemption.
Kasher in the Rye by Moshe Kasher/320 pages/Grand Central Publishing/2012