Breakfast with the Ones You Love
by Eliot Fintushel
Cover Artist: Stephen Youll
Review by Mel Jacob
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553384055
Date: 27 February, 2007 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Acclaimed short story writer Eliot Fintushel debuts with a comic coming age novel, Breakfast with the Ones You Love, about a street urchin named Lea Tillim. Lea harbors a dark secret and the ability to make people ill or even kill them with her mind. She becomes involved with a young drug dealer, Jack Konor, who sees himself as the next Jewish Messiah. Lea helps him prepare "the spaceship" that will take the Chosen of the Chosen of the Chosen, thirteen in all, to Eden. Jack collects allies in his quest to reach Eden and prepare the way for others.
Initially, teen-age Lea focuses on suppressing all feelings in her struggle to survive on her own. That all changes after she saves Jack's life. Surprise after surprise awaits her when she agrees to help him prepare his spaceship, and she ends by falling in love him.
Others learn of Lea's talents and plan to use her to win a big bet on a boxing match. However, they don't count on what happens when Jack slips her some of his stash. Forced to flee from pursuing thugs, Lea and Jack end in the Chicago underground where his minyan, a group of ten men who protect him and will sing him on his way to Eden, help them escape.
Fintushel peppers the novel with Yiddish words and references for his comic romp through Chicago's streets. He includes enough explanation to carry the reader along. Humor, much of it dark, abounds. Thugs, ordinary people, the Daughters of Satan, Jack and his converts, and Lea vie with each other and together to bring the novel to a rousing conclusion.
The twisted humor differs from more traditional comic fantasies and provides a fresh view of urban fantasy. Endorsed by Harlan Ellison, Gardner Dozois, and Jack Dann, the novel may well develop cult status. Fintushel's novel teems with coincidences, but provides a short, entertaining read.