Have You No Shame?: And Other Regrettable Stories (Paperback)
Growing up in white-bread Omaha, Nebraska, Rachel Shukert was one of thirty-seven students (circa 1990) in Nebraska’s only Jewish elementary school. She spent her days dreaming of a fantasy Aryan boyfriend named Chris McPresbyterian, a tall blond god whose family spoke softly in public and did not inquire after his bowel movements. She spent her nights frantically plastering her bedroom with pictures of intimidating co-religionists such as Henry Kissinger and Bette Midler, hoping to repel the Gestapo officers she was certain were lurking behind the drywall.
Even back then, Rachel knew she was destined for greatness. After winning the Omaha Metropolitan Area Theater Arts Guild Award for Best Youth Actress–and imagining herself as the biggest talent to come out of Nebraska since Montgomery Clift–Rachel finally arrives in Manhattan. Intent on making her mark in the glittering world of Show Biz, she isthwarted at every turn by episodes of anorexia, verbally abusive sock puppets, and a certain terrorist attack you may have heard of. She nevertheless soldiers on, as her people have done from time immemorial.
In this hilarious, mordant, and moving memoir, Rachel Shukert tackles topics as diverse and weighty as life, death, love, Jewish paranoia, and errant feminine hygiene products with a fresh and irresistible mixture of humor, brains, and candor, proving that having no shame can sometimes be a very good thing indeed.
Praise for Have You No Shame
"Shukert's sharp comic turns careen smack into the middle of our hearts...As in Lorrie Moore's stories, we feel a deep compassion through our laughter...As the title suggests, Shukert bears all on this journey. She may regret some of her antics, but we don't regret riding shotgun.” -- Los Angeles Times
“In her debut book of autobiographical essays...Rachel Shukert deftly pins down the essence of being young, brash, and sexually awkward in the mid 90's...recognizable and hilariously unpredictable...Shukert has a talent for pulling out the gritty, uncomfortable details that bring her stories into sharp relief...and packs enough force and honesty to send you reeling.” -- Time Out New York
“At times bawdy, at times bleak, Rachel Shukert’s laugh-out-loud-funny and gloriously written coming-of-age portrait will remind you of other precocious youngsters with morbid streaks–think of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and Salinger’s Glass family contemplating their annihilation over brisket.”
–Joshua Neuman, publisher of Heeb
“This book is so friggin’ funny! It’s twisted, surprising, and extremely hilarious, no joke. Shukert is a damn good writer, and there are even helpful footnotes for us gentiles! Brilliant!”
–Mike Albo, author of The Underminer