Kissing Kosher by Jean Meltzer
Narrated by Dara Rosenberg
Contemporary Romance. Stands Alone.
Kissing Kosher is my third and favorite Jean Meltzer book. I am writing this review as I am about to leave to go to my parents for Yom Kippur dinner. I don’t fast or go to temple, I just enjoy the food traditions of my religion. Some might say I’m Jew”ish”. I also suffer from chronic pain, including chronic pelvic pain, though thank goodness, it’s not as bad as the heroine in this novel.
Avital Cohen is in pain 24/7. Her chronic pelvic pain has upended her life and her dream of being a photographer was put aside when she needed to move home for her parents’ help. She runs her parents’ Kosher bakery, Best Babka in Brooklyn, and let me tell you, I wish there were recipes for challah and Babka in this book! Avital needs more help at the bakery, and hires the very handsome and very overqualified Ethan, who is clandestinely there as a spy for his grandfather to get the secret recipe from Avital’s grandfather, his ex-best friend turned enemy.
As Avital trains Ethan, they get to know each other and fall for each other, but Avital’s chronic pain makes her unable to live life like a normal young woman in her 20s. She’s not even sure if she can ever have sex again. Ethan is so wonderful and helpful to her; all he wants to do is help ease her pain and burden.
“She got used to lying on her back, her feet wedged into stirrups. She got used to disappearing into the ceiling while doctors poked and prodded. That was the funny thing about chronic pain. It didn’t disconnect her from her body. Instead, it made every single second of her life about her body. She couldn’t escape the never-ending reminders of her pain if she tried.”
As I finished Kissing Kosher (with a few good tears) and recommended it to my mom who really enjoyed it as well, I was able to give it my wholehearted recommendation to anyone Jewish or willing and wanting to learn about other religions. As I looked at my notes and began writing this review though, I found a lot of things that bothered me about the story (see my dislikes below).
- The heroine was relatable to me, while way younger and more religious, she suffers from chronic pelvic pain and has found that medical marijuana helps.
- I learned a lot about Judaism.
- All of the bakery employees were wonderful, especially Tootles.
- The challah baking scene.
- I absolutely loved the hippie rabbi!
- The story was a little more in-depth and not as silly as her last two.
- The normalization of marijuana, especially as medicine.
- I am very pro-marijuana, but I felt like there was some stuff about that that I didn’t love. First, she’s 24 in New York and nobody has ever suggested it to her? Second, having sex the first time she tried weed didn’t sit right with me, they had barely done anything else before, it almost felt a little non-consentish.
- 3rd person.
- At 24 Avital already has a definitive diagnosis. She’s been to multiple specialists. The journey most people go on to discover the source of their chronic pain usually takes WAY longer. Sometimes it takes up to a year just to get an appointment with a specialist. I’m 56 and have probably seen 30 specialists and had 10 diagnoses in the past 25 years, and that’s the case with most autoimmune patients. Though she discussed a bit of the history of her medical mistreatment, I wish we were able to see it more.
- Ethan has never been in a kitchen before and suddenly he is a master baker making recipes and modifying them for her special diet right off the bat.
- Unless I missed it, we were never given the real reason Ethan was sent over to Best Babka.
Dara Rosenberg was fantastic. I loved all of her Jewish voices!
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.25 Stars, 0 Heat, 5 Narration
Purchase Kissing Kosher by Jean Meltzer