Jacobo’s Rainbow Reviews

Author: David Hirshberg

January 1, 1970

“A beautiful novel set in the past but perfectly, scarily, relevant to our current moment.”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Lake Success

 

“Jacobo’s Rainbow is a sweeping examination of the unique buckle in time that was the ‘Sixties,’ told from the perspective of the ultimate outsider—a young man who was born and raised in the tiny New Mexico town of Arroyo Grande, a town so isolated, it didn’t even legally exist. Jacobo’s journey takes him from that remote enclave to a college campus, where he becomes immersed in the Free Speech movement, and to the battlefields of Vietnam. His insights and observations about society, his peers, bigotry and anti-Semitism are both trenchant and currently relevant to the culture wars and threats to free speech we see on our college campuses and society at large today. Jacobo’s Rainbow is a deeply moving, sensitive, and profound novel—a definite must-read.”—Marcia Clark, author of Blood Defense and Final Judgment.

 

“Blending together historical events and wonderfully imaginative settings, David Hirshberg explores the American Jewish experience in this evocative novel of self-discovery, belonging, and the complexities of identity.”—Shulem Deen, author of All Who Go Do Not Return

 

“Although set in the nineteen sixties, David Hirshberg’s Jacobo’s Rainbow is infused with prescient relevance today.  This hero’s journey shines a light on activism and protest on a college campus as well as the idea of patriotism and serving in the army.  Most profoundly, it depicts a search for identity as young Jacobo Toledano struggles with the blurry distinction between who people are and how they present themselves in public.  I loved this novel for its timeless message: that building a home of one’s own means leaving the safety of childhood and being resilient to the knocks the world hands you, true for an individual as well as a tribe.”—Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, author of The Nine and Eden

 

“David Hirshberg propels the reader into the mix of the turbulent nineteen sixties, as if this novel was constructed from personal conversations between the characters and the author. They are all agents and witnesses of their times with intersecting ethnicities, religions, races, genders, languages, and ages. Characters in this captivating narrative hide, discover, and reveal their true inner selves as they interact with events and each other. This is a saga that drops bread crumbs for the discerning eye and gratifies the reader who recognizes them and revels in the aha moments when the pieces come together. Hirshberg is immensely skilled at conjuring plausible events that serve the narrative. He captures the essence of anti-Semitism experienced by Jews of different hues and origins. The author represents with imagined accuracy the experiences of young men and women caught up in the Free Speech movement and in the jungles of Vietnam.”—Debbie Wohl-Isard, Editor, La Granada

“In Jacobo’s Rainbow, as he did in My Mother’s Son, David Hirshberg explores that stunning moment when youth gives way to maturity—and uncovers the lasting effects of that profound transformation. The year is 1963, and Jacobo, who was born and raised in a sheltered, idyllic New Mexico village, enrolls in a university and quickly becomes embroiled in the turmoil and passion of that one-of-a-kind decade. As he begins to find his voice and take stock of his individuality, he also sees, in surprising fashion, how truly connected we all are. A highly original novel by an inspired chronicler of fact and fiction that reveals our darkest instincts while celebrating our innate humanity.”—Barbara Josselsohn, author of The Lilac House and The Bluebell Girls

“Jacobo’s Rainbow is a powerful, electrifying glimpse into the life of a young student advocating for the Free Speech Movement and protesting the Vietnam War. It’s a story about truth, loyalty, tradition, and the shortcomings of human perception, an all-too-often occurrence for those who haven’t yet experienced much of life. Hirshberg’s keenly nuanced characters will remain with the reader long after the last page.”—Crystal King, author of The Chef’s Secret and Feast of Sorrow