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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Rabbi Wore Bell-bottoms is a charming and quirky fictionalized memoir penned by author Art Novak and read in audiobook format by the author as well. Based on and expanded from the author’s real memories of being a chaplain’s assistant at Fort Leonard Wood during the 1970s, we find ourselves in the head of Dan Berman as he transitions from grad school directly into the army. In the time of the Vietnam war, Dan questions his own religious beliefs and discovers his own ways of interpreting and dealing with love, life, and faith in a unique and unusual setting.
There is a profound sense of what it means to live in the modern world as a person of faith, cleverly disguised amid the humor and hijinks of this delightful work. Author Art Novak writes with smooth prose and an authentic voice that gives life to character Dan Berman through his own connection to similar experiences. The dialogue is witty throughout, though there are tense scenes and harrowing moments where character is truly tested, which makes this an all-encompassing look at religious modern life.
In terms of audiobook quality, it’s clear that the author and narrator Art Novak has a strong sense of his own text and how it needs to be delivered for the strongest emotive and comedic effect. Dan’s narration as a character is charming and emotive, dealing with real issues of interfaith relationships and relations in general. The quality of the editing was also excellent with very little interference or feedback, making The Rabbi Wore Bell-bottoms a very pleasant and funny listening experience.