Adoption is a cultural metaphor in Boris Fishman’s new novel, DON’T LET MY BABY DO RODEO (HARPER). A Jewish couple originally from Belarus and Ukraine, now living in New Jersey adopt an “unquestionably goy” baby from Montana. When leaving with their child, the last words from the birth parents to the adopting couple Maya and Alex Rubin who are taking their son to New Jersey are, “please don’t let my baby do rodeo.”
Much like in his first novel, the best-selling, A REPLACEMENT LIFE, Fishman uses a healthy dose of history, culture and culinary arts of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in New Jersey in DON’T LET MY BABY DO RODEO.
Struggling to overcome the isolation and insecurity of separation from her family in Ukraine, Maya meets Alex and marries him out of love, and she also gets citizenship. Soon they realize they can’t have children and Maya takes charge of adoption over strong objections from Alex and his Belarus-born busybody parents, who believe “adopted children were second-class.”
Max is a healthy baby, but develops into a reclusive, almost feral, child who immerses himself in the natural world. Alex takes this to confirm his prior reluctance to adopt “because you get genes that belong to somebody else.” Maya thinks this makes Max special and, she insists that they drive to Montana to meet his birth parents and see Max’s roots for themselves.
So many things can drive a family apart; it’s a wonder that Alex, Maya and Max, or any of us put in this type of situation, can hold it together. Immigration and adoption are not for wimps. With graceful control, assurance and a very understated sense of wit, Fishman turns, DON’T LET MY BABY DO RODEO into a heartfelt, clever, layered story of a family searching for answers and the risks they’ll take to find them.
- Photo credit Stephanie Kaltsas
About Boris Fishman
Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus, and immigrated to the United States in 1988 at the age of nine. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. His first novel, A Replacement Life won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal, was one of The New York Times‘ 100 Notable Books, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. He lives in New York.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours http://www.tlcbooktours.com and HARPER we have one copy to give away. Just leave your name and a comment about what comes to your mind when you first read the title of this novel, DON’T LET MY BABY DO RODEO ? I thought it was romance about a cowboy. Boy, was I wrong! We’ll pick the winner Friday!
For more reviews and news about my novel, “Viewer Discretion Advised,” feel free to check out http://www.cindyroesel.com
Have a wonderful week. Happy Spring!
Congratulations to our SPRING WINNERS: Bonnie F. & Susan B.