Adam Sandler is turning my favorite Jewish YA book into a Netflix movie – Kveller

I first saw Fiona Rosenbloom’s 2005 Jewish YA classic “You’re Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!” in my library. After reading the synopsis on the back, I knew I had to watch it.

As I wrote for Hey Alma in 2021, “Like ‘The Great Gatsby’ or ‘Middlemarch’, “You’re not invited to my Bat Mitzvah!” is a masterpiece of its time. Filled with in all its mid-2000s glory, complete with references to Ashlee Simpson, Delias and Nokia phones, this story tells the story of Stacy Friedman, a girl preparing for her bat mitzvah.

I read and re-read the book feverishly, finding every day, the typical expression of the Jewish heart and taste of a young girl. “You’re not invited to my Bat Mitzvah” is, at the same time, everything in my life and everything I wanted in my life as a young Jew in the mid-2000s.

As an adult, when I moved into my own apartment, I took the book with me (but I think I lost my copy of the ending, “We Are Crashing Your Bar Mitzvah!”). It is now displayed on my bookshelf, resting, in pride of place, next to “Reinventing Richard Nixon: A Cultural History of An American Obsession,” a book written by my beloved father.

So when I heard the news, the next movie project from Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison Productions was a movie version of “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!” for Netflix, I like it a lot.

Considering that the Jewish-centric book is too niche for the general public, I don’t think there will be a movie. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Adam Sandler and his team creating the world of bat mitzvah girl Stacy Friedman, Lydia Katz and crush Andy Goldfarb. Although a release date has yet to be announced, I can’t wait to see if Sandler gets the mid-aughts nostalgia right, or if he chooses to act in the present, perhaps finding his own identity. to visit his daughter. bat mitzvah celebration.

But I’m also worried.

While “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” evokes fond memories of the 2000s, the book also serves as a timeline for the troubling aspects of that era.

Andy Goldfarb is perhaps the biggest and most important example of this. Although he is a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy (his parents are Mintzi and Lenny), he only speaks in AAE (African American English, also known as African American Vernacular English) throughout the book.

Andy and I first met at a bat mitzvah party of some sort. Just read this description and you will see the beginning of black culture.

“Andy is very good. He knows all about rap stars and wears Sean John and Phat Farm clothes. He had a personal belt called G-Farb,” Rosenbloom wrote.

It’s not a promising start, and when Andy first opens his mouth after Stacy asks him to dance, it’s even worse.

“But then Andy pulled out his cell phone, looked at the text, smiled, and said, ‘Eli, I have to go outside for a minute. Chill, a’ight Betty?'”

It goes without saying, but: Yikes.

I’m not a student of African American English, but in simple terms: Regardless of the meaning, it’s an act of racism when a black person chooses something made by black people, including language – especially when it’s black. People are often criticized for creating their own culture. (You can learn more about AAE and how AAE is offered by black people through these great educational videos from BET and PBS.)

Of course, this is complicated by the fact that Andy Goldfarb is a fictional character in a media piece.

In trying to figure out Fiona Rosenbloom’s point of view, she seems to have written Andy this way for two reasons. At first Andy was supposed to be the most popular kid; as Stacy herself says, “she’s very sweet.” While I’m not from Westchester, where the book is set, I think it’s safe to assume that in 2005, it was becoming commonplace for black kids to use AAE — and it’s not uncommon. perhaps, there is. today. Think about the last time you heard non-Black children, teenagers and adults use words like “time” or “time,” “spill the tea,” or no “yaaas.”

However, as a reader, we don’t have to agree with Stacy 100 percent of the time. She was twelve or thirteen years old after freewheeling and hormonal. So, Rosenbloom forces us to see Stacy’s love affair with Andy, who isn’t a very nice person, and question her.
However, I don’t know if the book’s intended audience has the critical eye to question Andy’s apparent complacency and dislike him. When I first read the book as a child, I didn’t read it.

Which leads me to my concern over the film.

As much as I love Adam Sandler’s Jewish father, I don’t know if his voice acting is accurate enough to portray a white Jewish character using AAE in a way that doesn’t constitute proof of that character. racist. And unfortunately, I consider these concerns above the book’s other problems. Stacy constantly embarrasses her brother Arthur under the guise of performing a mitzvah for him, and the popular group of girls are homophobic towards Lydia because they think she’s queer. I could go on.

To be clear, I have no answers about the “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” exchange. I think that leaving AAE, obesity and homophobia shows another challenge: In removing something that is considered a problem from the transition, it may clean up the real thing. What do they represent in American culture in 2005? And if Sandler decides to make the movie now, then ditch the old AAE and the hurt/hate sentiments, will it completely destroy the Y2K spirit of the book?

Like I said, I don’t have any answers.

But when “You Are SO Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” drops on Netflix, I’m the first to hit the game, bowl of popcorn and notepad behind.

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