Little Round Jewish Hat

Notes From the Upper West Side (Book 1)

Fiction - Literary
262 Pages
Reviewed on 01/14/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Frank Mutuma for Readers' Favorite

Little Round Jewish Hat by Dan Roentsch describes Paul's life. He is a bartender most days of the year, but he doesn't love his job. His passion and his reason for being in New York City is to be an actor. Back in school, Paul realized he had a problem: the constant urge to always get the girl. This puts him at odds with his friends, but he is seeing a therapist to deal with his problem. Tony is Paul's friend, whom Paul considers to be toxic. Tony is always mocking him, but Paul doesn't end the friendship. To find out how things unfold for Paul and his relationships with his friends, wife, and ladies of different characters, such as Cynthia, during the shooting of a video project, pick up this book.

Little Round Jewish Hat by Dan Roentsch is one of a kind. It is uniquely written with a sense of humor that captured my attention from the first chapter to the last. The wonderfully tailored plotline flows flawlessly, and the book sets the foundation for a promising series, making readers look forward to the next one. I loved the prowess in narration that added to the overall appeal and the well-developed and relatable characters. I also found the book thought-provoking on many social issues and challenges that people face that sometimes contribute to behavior change. Dan also did a wonderful job of vividly describing the events and emotions of the characters. I cannot wait to read something else by this talented author.

K.C. Finn

Little Round Jewish Hat is a work of fiction in the humor, literary, sociocultural, and satire subgenres, and is the first book in the Notes From the Upper West Side series. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Penned by author Dan Roentsch, the story captures the neurotically unique world of Paul, an actor in New York City. Resentful and grappling with his insecurities, Paul's narrative is a comedic yet introspective exploration of his relationships and encounters. The story delves into Paul's misadventures, from accidentally appearing in a music video to navigating a night of unconventional romance with a woman fifteen years younger than him, all while attempting to maintain the facade of a traditional father and husband.

Author Dan Roentsch has captured a truly unique perspective and found a powerful niche of American humor that translates into a highly engaging reading experience. The comedic style is palpable on every page, and there’s never a missed opportunity for a laugh, with Paul serving as a wonderfully unreliable narrator, offering misperceptions and comedic takes on the world around him. It feels fresh and out of the box, never recycled, with a lot of moments that had me laughing out loud. Yet, beneath the humor lies a poignant exploration of the challenges faced by those in the acting profession, struggling with aspirations, family dynamics, and the gritty reality of pursuing dreams in New York City. This element was delivered with subtle confidence and a slow-burning quality that only literary fiction can truly deliver for an emotional punch. Overall, I would certainly recommend Little Round Jewish Hat as a compelling and thought-provoking read that’s also easy to enjoy from cover to cover.

Danelle Petersen

Written as a memoir, Little Round Jewish Hat by Dan Roentsch depicts the life of Paul, a struggling actor and bartender from New York. Having given Paul the idea of writing a memoir, his therapist believes that it will help him come to terms with his wife's betrayal, but because he thinks he knows better, Paul decides to use it as a tool to exact his revenge. In his humorous and pompous way, Paul explains to the reader exactly how he plans on doing this, taking them through a timeline of events leading up to the devastating discovery. The problem is that Paul is quite delusional, selfish, and worst of all, oblivious to his wife's feelings, thus failing to see the pivotal role he played in ruining what was once a beautiful relationship.

Hilarious and filled to the brim with irony, Little Round Jewish Hat will have readers laughing from start to finish. Paul's strange way of explaining things and refusal to take responsibility for his actions is quite comical as is his naivety. As the main character, one would expect to feel drawn to Paul and even sympathize with his plight, but no, his inflated ego made it impossible. Dan Roentsch's style of writing is bold and catches the reader's attention from the onset, although some might find parts offensive and quite explicit. If you're looking for a crazy trip, enjoy the company of outrageous characters, and find Roentsch’s frank way of writing to your taste, then Little Round Jewish Hat is for you.

Pikasho Deka

Dan Roentsch's Little Round Jewish Hat follows the story of a struggling New York theater actor and model as he navigates marriage, work, and sexual encounters with women. When Paul's friend/nemesis Tony Parp offers him a role in the music video titled Little Round Jewish Hat, Paul reluctantly takes the job despite his suspicions that his wife, Corrine, is having an affair with Parp. A middle-aged man and a father of two, Paul spends his time relating stories of his multiple sexual conquests to his therapist, Dr. Jessica, when he is not acting or bartending. However, lately, Paul harbors deep resentment against his colleagues as well as those who reject his advances. He has his eye on a woman fifteen years his junior. Can he get his life back on track after this latest encounter?

Little Round Jewish Hat is for readers who love stories featuring self-destructive antagonists. Dan Roentsch tells an absorbing tale about a man determined to live an unapologetically hedonistic life without meaning or purpose. The narrative is primarily character-driven, and Roentsch captures the psyche of a deeply flawed man brilliantly, giving readers access to his unstable thoughts and desires that are rarely ever fulfilled. Paul is not a likable person. He is shallow and exudes an air of self-importance commonly seen in narcissists and people with delusions of grandeur. But that's what fascinates you as a reader. You can't help but wonder what he's going to do next. Overall, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to lovers of dark comedies or readers who enjoy stories with morally grey characters.

Foluso Falaye

Just barely out of high school, Paul finds himself in a sensitive state because another boy like him got lucky at a party that he couldn't attend. Paul is so disturbed by this event that it drives him into therapy. Paul is stuck with a wife he is no longer attracted to because he made the mistake of seeing her give birth to Sam, his son. However, he is still attracted to other women, including the women he meets while working as an actor at a New York theater. As Paul works on getting lucky with someone new, he battles thoughts about his insecurities and his marital issues, including his wife's infidelity. Dan Roentsch's Little Round Jewish Hat follows Paul's sex escapades and his chaotic relationships with friends who double as rivals in a twisted game of ego and bittersweet camaraderie.

As Paul shares his opinions in the first person, he holds nothing back and uses various colorful words that would make a sailor blush. I enjoyed every bit of it! Also, the abundance of weird characters and the protagonist's memorable descriptions left me eager for more. One such character is Hed, who is likened to a "bobblehead of Karl Marx with glasses and an unwashed beard." Paul's recollections are an elaborate combination of different themes. Whether he's talking about fetishes, his girlish laughter, or Internet nudity, Paul's humor and his intriguing perspectives act as the thread that draws it all together. In the past 12 months, only a few books have made me laugh so much that I cried the way Little Round Jewish Hat did. Dan Roentsch's book is a must-read for those who love hilarious plots with strong sexual themes, like the American Pie movies.