Book Discovery: Jenny and Me by Idan Sheffer
A wonderful coming-of-age surprise.
New York City provides a background for Idan Sheffer’s Jenny and Me, a congruous choice for a coming-of-age story that is awash in familiarity yet full of delightful surprises.
Billy prowls the streets of New York City like a wolf about to terrorize humanity, and on many occasions, scarify is precisely what Billy does with the pack of kids he runs along with. There is Ralph, Jack, Michael, Robert, and the girl he’s been dating for a few months, Jasmine. When they come together, Billy feels like the laws of nature, superseded by unholy forces, do not apply; and despite the violence, drunkenness, and hobos in the streets of New York City, he feels safe, comfortable, at home, pumped, of course, by loud punk rock music that screams the rebellion in his teenage soul against societal norms that force young boys to be better than this stage in their young lives, a phase that is a purgatory of sorts—if not an absolute hell—that must be survived in order to move on to holier grounds. Tonight feels the same for the teen, except that, unbeknownst to him, tonight is not his night—or perhaps it is, in that bizarre sequence of events that makes sense only in hindsight.
The cops catch up to Billy and drag him to the back of the patrol car. The rest of his pack escapes unscathed, but not Billy. The police lead him to a dark interrogation room at the detention center. There, an officer asks, “What were you doing at the school?” Billy keeps mum about how they vandalized the school lab to avenge the humiliation suffered by one of their own earlier that day. He keeps mum about the many things running through his mind and the things eating at his conscience. All things considered, Billy walks away with a fair deal: community service by way of assistance to an ailing girl named Jenny.
While not too keen about community service, Billy is quickly drawn into Jenny’s world, a polar opposite to his. The difference feels heady, especially for a young man still trying to make sense of his stance in the world: is he of light and love or does he belong to darkness and the gang? Billy swings back and forth between yin and yang. Needless to say, Jenny is the impetus that makes Billy confront his own demon: Who is Billy?
How can the difference between childhood and manhood make or break a person? Is Billy just a young boy from NYC, or is he all the other confused young boys and girls combined?
Idan Sheffer’s prose is natural; his characters, all varied in personalities, are relatable. Jenny and Me is a must-read whether you are a fifteen or fifty, a warning or a walk down memory lane depending on your vantage point. Either way, it is a pleasure to read.
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Reviews and What Readers Say
"I haven't read Sheffer's books before so it was a nice surprise to read this one. this is a wonderful coming of age book, full with teen zest. i loved the characters and was moved from the plot. highly recommended!"
— Client, Verified Purchase
Reviewed by Isa Gray
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Idan Sheffer has written four books - "Jenny and Me" (2012), ""Stories from the Pedestrian zones"" (2014), ""and A Journey to Life"" (2016) and ""Uncle Leon"" (2017). Sheffer holds a master's degree in the philosophy of science, with thesis dealt with the philosophy of art named ""Existentialism in Art: Tragedy versus Comedy"," and finished a training in cinema at the New York Film Academy, where he gained knowledge in all the aspects of cinematic art -- directing, screenwriting, editing, and more.