“history on a personal note” is a collection of sixteen short stories, some of which are interesting and entertaining, while others are not. The short story for which the book is named is about two girlfriends sneaking into East Germany to take a look around before the Berlin wall comes down. It is a political story that is anti-German and anti-Reagan. I found it entertaining and well crafted, despite disagreeing with its theme.

Another one of the short stories tackles the pledge of allegiance and the Lord’s prayer in the public school system. It is written from the point of view of a young Jewish student who gets offended by both. One girl who is patriotic is portrayed as an offensive bully. Here is a quote from the story: “America right or wrong, love it or leave it, Lydia Langorelli was staunchly patriotic the way only the downtrodder could be.” Needless to say, I find this quote quite offensive.

“money honey” is a short story about a family that discovers that a relative who’s died has left nearly three million dollars without a will. Family members gather together to figure out how to cheat one relative out of his share. The story accurately portrays how greed can destroy a family. It is a truly revolting story and an interesting read.

One thing you can say about the author, Binnie Kirshenbaum, is that her topics are varied. “a full life of a different nature” deals with masturbation, adultery and sex with fruits and vegetables–subjects that are taboo to most writers and readers. Here is a quote from this story: “My adventure with the cucumber transforms the Korean vegetable market on my block into an erotic boutique. Like Pavlov’s dog, I can’t pass by without getting wet.”

If you want a book with interesting and disturbing stories, then this is the book for you. Unfortunately, they are not all interesting and you may even be offended by some.

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