Love, Faith, and a Pair of Pants by Herb Freed

3.5 stars (rounded down to 3 stars)

Publisher: Bellrock Press

Date of publication: October 2nd, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

Where you can find Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Ben Zelig thinks he has his life all figured out. Graduate from rabbinical school. Get hired by a spiritually enriched community. Meet a nice Jewish girl and start a family. Simple, right? Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, but life can still work out as long as you have Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants. 

Herb Freed, the author of the timeless love story Bashert, is back with a collection of five short stories about the smart, witty, spiritual and, according to his mother, incredibly handsome, Rabbi Ben Zelig. In five stories about a rabbi’s life, Zelig navigates romance, family ties, colorful congregants and the meaning of faith. We follow him through the decades as master storyteller Freed takes us from humor to pathos and back again in an uplifting examination of what it means to be human. 

My review:

I love to read, which is a given since I maintain a blog that is about book reviews. I also like to read books that other people might pass up. I have found a few hidden gems by doing that. I also like not to turn down books. I very rarely turn down a request for review. So when the publisher emailed me about Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants…I accepted the invite. I wasn’t sure if I would like to read the book but was willing to give it a try.

I am not going to say that I didn’t like the book. I thought that it had a great messages in each section. There were fascinating insights into a rabbi’s life. But this book wasn’t for me.

For one, I couldn’t connect with the main character. Ben attracted drama like honey attracts bees. No matter where he went, drama followed. From his first funeral to the end of the book, it didn’t stop. His obsession with finding a nice Jewish girl did make me laugh a little. By the time Eden came around, I was no longer amused. I thought he was desperate.

I will admit that I was fascinated by the inner workings of being a rabbi. I grew up in a city with a huge Jewish population (the city had 6 temples). Some of my best friends were Jewish. I also dated a guy, for a few years, who was Jewish. So I was familiar with most of what was being talked about in the book. Except when it came to Ben’s duties as a rabbi. I was fascinated and I wish that more time had been spent discussing it.

I lost my focus several times during the book. The book was split into sections and I felt that I was missing out on what happened between the stories. Not something that I usually complain about when writing a review. But I felt that there were gaps. The only section that I didn’t feel that was Eden and that was because, well, I can’t say.

Like I mentioned above, the book did have some redeeming qualities. The messages in each section were great. The lessons that the sections taught were good. I also thought that the other characters (besides Ben) were vividly written. They brought an extra depth to the book.

Would this be a book that I would return to read, probably not. But, I tell people to read it. The messages in each section and the lessons that were taught in them are worth reading.

I would give Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants an Adult rating. There is no sex (there are sexual situations and kissing). There is no language. There is mild violence. There are triggers. They would be the loss of faith, the death of a spouse, the death of a sibling, cancer and estrangement from a parent. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread this book. I would recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants.

All opinions stated in this review of Love, Faith and a Pair of Pants are mine.

Bashert by Herb Freed


3 Stars

Publisher: Bellrock Press

Date of publication: February 14th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Bashert: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Would you recognize your soul’s complement in another? Beyond the bliss of actually finding your soul mate, there is a belief that the universe hinges on predetermined people finding their other half, their bashert, to maintain cosmic balance. In BASHERT author, screenwriter, director, and former rabbi Herb Freed immerses us in the heady intoxication and thunderous losses of what it really means to be bashert.

Dan Sobol and Marion Gladstone meet by chance at a screenwriter’s event in Los Angeles. He’s a rabbi turned director known for his cinematic television commercials; she’s a writer and film editor who is recovering from a tabloid-headline screaming Hollywood divorce. From the moment Marion hears Dan’s voice, she knows–and so does he. It’s bashert.

But when did the course of true love ever run smooth? Dan and Marion are soon partners in business as well as life, traveling the world to create movies. He directs, she writes and edits, and life becomes an amazing adventure–until Cancun. There, among the ruins of the Mayan civilization, Marion has an eerie premonition that has the potential to change everything.

Drawing upon his own personal experience, Freed spins a tale unflinching in its examination of life, but weaving along the edge of magical realism. From the bright lights of Hollywood to Mexico, Israel, Paris and the dreamy exhilaration of Jamaica, BASHERT is a love story about transcending life, loss and the boundaries we mistakenly place on our lives and our hearts.

My Review:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Bashert. See, I had gotten an email from NetGalley with their Read Nows. I kinda did a book nerd’s version of drunken Amazon shopping. Except I wasn’t drinking and it wasn’t Amazon. I thought that I had downloaded a book that at its best would bore me to sleep. At its worse, it would completely bore me. I fell somewhere in the middle with Bashert.

I had a hard time following Bashert’s plotline. The book kept jumping from past to present to past. It confused the ever-living out of me. I ended up rereading chapters to understand exactly what was going on. Now keeping what I wrote in mind, I thought that the plotline was original. I  wished I could have followed it better.

What intrigued me about this book was that the author didn’t gloss over Dan and Marion’s bad times. He let us know that love wasn’t all sunshine and roses. That there will be dark and turbulent days. It is up to the people to get through them. Which Dan and Marion did. They faced life’s greatest challenges together. Dan always supported Marion and vice versa.

I liked Dan and I got his skepticism when Molly told him that she had talked to Marion. But the more the events in Jamaica unrolled, the more his skepticism was chipped away.

The end of the book confused me. I ended up reading the last chapter a few times and I couldn’t figure out what the author wanted us to think. Not going to get into it but I thought one thing. When I read it out loud to my SO, with a quick briefing on the book, he thought another. I guess we could both be right.

What I liked about Bashert:

A) The locations the book was set in

B) The storyline

C) Dan and Marion’s love story, the good and bad

What I disliked about Bashert:

A) Plot hard to follow

B) Jamaica. With everything going on, the whole festival storyline added to me not being able to follow the book.

C) The end of the book

I would give Bashert a rating of Older Teen. There is language. There are sex and sexual situations. The sex/sexual situations are very vague. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in the book. They would be: Drug use

I am on the fence about recommending this book to family and friends. I would let them know the plotline and let them make their own decision. I would give them a heads up about the trigger warning.

I am on the fence about rereading this book. On one hand, I want to because I find the whole concept of Bashert fascinating. On the other hand, I don’t because the book confused me too much.

I would like to thank Bellrock Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bashert.

All opinions stated in this review of Bashert are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Do you believe in true love like Bashert was describing? Why or why not?

Can you read a book where the plotline is hard to follow? Why or why not?

Confusing endings? A deal breaker when it comes to reading anything by the author again? Why or why not?