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Lusty Lady

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Rachel Shukert has no shame, and I love her for that

Rachel Shukert reading at the Best Sex Writing 2008 book release party, photo by Stacie Joy

I can't really steal Julie Klausner's "Have You No Shukert?" line, but I can tell you that whether you're Jewish or not, if you don't laugh at least eighteen times while reading Rachel Shukert's essay collection Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories, you will be missing out. Rachel's humor is certainly not for the faint of heartæit's about the Holocaust, anorexia, blowjobs, and other fun topics. Rachel has fun with her writing, clearly: there are footnotes for goys denoted with little crosses, and notes about Nebraska history denoted with little "n"s. She really has no shame in talking about teenage sex and family drama and somehow makes her very Jewish humor also universal (I think, as obviously I'm biased). She's not doing anything for shock value, and what's truly shocking here is her candor. The humor is the kind that makes you want to grab your best friend and read her passages of it; you might also be tempted to give it to your parents, since it's a "Jewish" book, but I'd say, don't. It might permanently scar them.

And you can not only come to her book party tonight, sponsored by Heeb, but read two choice excerpts from her book.

Also, Rachel's essay "Big Mouth Strikes Again: An Oral Report" opens my book Best Sex Writing 2008. I am definitely going to consider her work for the 2009 edition as well.

Here are some excerpts:

"The Anorexic's Cookbook" on Nerve

Rachel on her childhood obsession with the Nazis on Nextbook

When I was growing up, the Holocaust haunted me. In a valiant attempt at control in a hostile and uncertain world, a world that was once capable (and could be again) of hunting down Jewish children and sending them to their fiery deaths, I took out my Lisa Frank notebook—a luridly colored affair with a pair of grimacing kittens dressed as ballerinas pirouetting across the cover—and made lists. Lists with titles like "People who would hide us from the Nazis," "People who would probably turn us in to the Nazis," and of course, "What to Pack When Hiding from the Nazis."

What to Pack When Hiding from the Nazis
The items on the latter list were the most self-evident: One would need food, of course, Ziploc bags of Cheerios and Skittles, apple juice boxes, and cans of Diet Coke from the pantry. Family photographs—I'd want images of my annihilated relatives to occupy a place of honor at Yad Vashem.



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