We gave it an A
It’s 1979. Jimmy Carter is President and some 70 Americans have been taken hostage in Iran. In a Chicago Jewish neighborhood, Ayatollah-defending Jill Wasserstrom is dreading the bat mitzvah her recently widowed father is forcing on her. She gets no sympathy from her stoner sister, Michelle, an aspiring actress who, as a prank, impersonates a made-up relative of Muley Wills, a gentle teen filmmaker with a crush on Jill who, by the way, can’t stand her kleptomaniacal anorexic neighbor Lana Rovner and Lana’s horny brother Larry, a yeshiva senior who, when not masturbating to pay-TV, dreams of making it with his Jerusarock band Rovner! And that’s just the beginning, as residents on both sides of social-strata-dividing California Avenue brilliantly loop and intersect. In his ambitious, irresistible debut, Langer packs in more hilarious and agonizing moments than most writers manage in a lifetime.