Peep Show

Summary

The adult entertainment industry and the world of Hasidic Jews couldn’t be more different. Or could they? Here’s novel evidence that all the world really is a stage — it’s only a matter of which costume you wear. David Arbus will be graduating from high school in the spring of 1975. His divorced parents offer two options: embrace his mother’s Hasidic sect or go into his father’s line of work, running a porn theater in the heart of New York’s Times Square. What else would a healthy seventeen-year-old with an interest in photography do? He joins the family business. But he didn’t think it would mean giving up his sister and mother altogether. Peep Show is the story of a young man torn between a mother trying to erase her past and a father struggling to maintain his dignity in a less-than-savory business. As David peeps through the spaces in the screen that divides the men and the women in Hasidic homes, we can’t help but think of his father’s Imperial Theatre, where other men are looking at other women through the peep holes. As entertaining as it is moving, Peep Show looks at the elaborate ensembles and rituals, assumed names, and fierce loyalties of two secret worlds, pulling away the curtains of both.

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Reviews

“Braff skillfully illuminates the failures and charms of a broken family. That teen longing for adults to act their age haunts long after the final page.” – People Magazine (4 stars)
“Whether he’s writing about religion, pornography, or the family ruined by both in this smart, funny, heartbreaking novel, Braff does it with authority, wit, and an unflagging compassion for his hopelessly broken characters.”Jonathan Tropper, author of This Is Where I Leave You
“An interfamilial culture clash of epic proportions. …This is a powerful, sensitively told coming-of-age story about the ways in which rigid worldviews extract their pounds of flesh from us all, especially the young.” – Booklist (starred review)
“An accomplished, thematically complex, but ultimately very relatable piece of writing, a book that convinces us of Braff’s talent and ingenuity. …disarmingly fresh.”Spectrum Culture
“Funny…poignant…The comic thrust never detracts from the novel’s intimate peek into a divided family.”BookPage
“Braff brings together two very different cultures with sympathy for both. … An intriguing contrast in the struggle to uphold a set of values and the painful necessity of compromise.” – Publishers Weekly
“Braff draws an interesting parallel between the peep show aspect of David’s father’s theater to the screen drawn across his mother’s Hasidic world.” – Jewish Book Council