Since You Left Me
Author: Allen Zadoff
Publisher: Egmont USA
3½ out of 5 stars
She’s about to leave. Soon she’ll be gone, off to start the next chapter of her life, filled with new memories and adventures. You don’t fit into the picture. The light knock on your bedroom door brings you out of your thoughts, and reminds you that this is it. This is really happening. She’s here to say goodbye, but what if you’re not ready to let her go yet? Maybe you’re just being selfish. Then again, how are you supposed to be okay with her packing up and moving to India? She is your mother after all.
Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman goes to a school where it’s not surprising to see someone walking around dressed in traditional Jewish garb. Kids study the Torah, observe the Sabbath, and live an all-around Jewish life. But none of that carries over to his home life, where he eats vegan food, does yoga positions with his mom, and doesn’t believe in any kind of God. Sanskrit isn’t happy with either of his alternate realities, so when the chance to improve one of them comes along, he goes for it. Even if it means wrecking the other.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Sanskrit learns that the hard way. After his parents divorced, he lost his first true love, and was forced to attend a private Jewish school, Sanskrit was hoping that for once things could go his way. When Sanskrit lies about his mother getting into a “terrible accident” so he won’t get into trouble at school, things seem to start getting better for him. Lying can’t be so bad, if it’s doing so much good for him. But soon Sanskrit’s two worlds collide and it’s too much for him to separate the lies from the truth. One thing’s for sure, this is definitely not what he wanted. Now Sanskrit’s irresponsible mother is about to hop on a plane to India and abandon her children, while everyone at school continues to think that she’s been gravely injured in a car accident. Can Sanskrit come clean before it’s too late? Will things ever go his way? Allen Zadoff reveals all in his funny, yet achingly emotional story of one boy’s journey to find his own happiness, on his own terms in, Since You Left Me!
Since You Left Me is a wild mix of crazy and insane, but in a good way. Sanskrit’s unique situation made for an interesting story with new issues arising from his web of lies at every turn. Sanskrit’s life was too much for even him to handle at times, and nothing seemed to be making his job any easier. With humorous moments to break up the heavy ones, Since You Left Me touched on deep subjects, while also remaining a light, enjoyable read. I suggest this book for older readers, as it does contain some mature topics.
Sanskrit never asked for the life that was given to him. He doesn’t even want it really. All he can do is try and roll with the punches as best he can, and make the best out of everything. It all became too much for him though, and when the going got tough Sanskrit turned to lying to make things better. Lying turned out to hurt him more than it helped him. Being forced to grow up so young, Sanskrit was mature in that sense, yet at times he simply accepted what was given to him and never tried to go after the things he really wanted. It was until chance gave him an opportunity to change that Sanskrit finally did.
Similar to how Sanskrit isn’t satisfied with his life, neither is his mother. After his parent’s divorce, Sanskrit’s mother became a yoga-teaching vegan who barely devoted any time to her kids. Countless times Sanskrit wanted to rebel against his mother or say how he really felt about her behavior, but instead he always backed down. Even when his mother was about to hop on a plane and go to India to find herself and leave her children behind, Sanskrit’s protests weren’t as forceful as I had hoped. I was rooting for him to stand up for something, but I was constantly disappointed. Luckily, by the end of the book Sanskrit finally figured out who he is, and what he stands for. He finds something to believe in, and his own path to finding happiness.
Allen Zadoff’s first novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have, is absolutely hilarious, and really took a humorous take on one boy’s struggles. Since You Left Me was funny as well, but I didn’t find myself laughing out loud as much throughout the book. Sanskrit’s situation created some very interesting predicaments, but many times his gloomy look on life dampened the prospect of cracking some jokes. However, this book has some funny moments and amusing antics that help lighten up the more serious parts of the story.
Since You Left Me takes a boy who is unhappy with his life and throws everything at him until he finally says, “Enough,” and changes his situation. Sanskrit figures out what he needs to do for himself, but also what those around him need for their own happiness as well. Join Sanskrit as he tries to keep everyone from leaving, even when it’s time to let go in, Since You Left Me!
-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!
*I received this book from NetGalley, a website on which you can request free advanced reader copies of books. I received Since You Left Me by Allen Zadoff in exchange for my honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Egmont USA!