Jesse Kellerman Talks About His Life And New Novel At Robertson Branch Library

Audio Part One Part Two

Jesse said this used to be his library as he grew up in the neighborhood (but has lived in New York the past four years).

His grandmother has lived in the area since 1959.

Librarian Eva Mitnick gives the introduction. She notes Kellerman's rave reviews, "even from Booklist which is hard to please."

I thought Booklist only gave positive reviews?

Jesse's wife is a fourth year medical student.

He says that many of his teachers at YULA (Yeshiva University Los Angeles high school) were "narrow minded and anti-intellectual."

Jesse says he is "emotionally and intellectually Jewish."

Whenever I hear people saying they are Jewish in their heart, I figure it means that they don't practice their religion.

If I am pressed to go to an event I don't want to attend, I'll say, "I'll be there in spirit."

When I am breaking up with a girlfriend, I usually say "I love you."


I've interviewed over 50 authors and only a couple of them (Jeffrey Goldberg and Jesse Kellerman) told me to go through their publicist if I wanted to ask them questions.

In both cases the publicist excuse meant only one thing -- "Piss off you bloody peasant!"

So come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

With Goldberg, I had a genuine interest in his work. With Kellerman, I had a genuine interest in the person -- he's the son of two best-selling mystery writers (Jonathan and Faye Kellerman) who are observant Jews and sent their kids to Orthodox day schools.

I got through half of Jesse's first novel before quitting in boredom.

I sent him off a polite interview request. I figured he might become an interesting writer one day.

I got back this: "Dear Mr. Ford: Thanks for your interest. Please contact my publicist, Katie Grinch, at Katie.Grinch@us.penguingroup.com

Happy holidays and best to you."


I emailed Katie and got back an email on Jan. 3, 2007 saying she'd set up an interview for me.

When I followed up with her, I got no reply.

I went to see Jesse read from his book and take a few questions on Jan. 18.

Afterwards, I introduced myself. He knew who I was. He had an apprehensive, how-can-I-fend-this-guy-off-with-the-least-trouble-look. He inquired if his publicist was being helpful. I said yes. He said how busy he was and I left him alone.

I followed up with Katie and on Jan. 22, I got this: "Hi, Luke - Jesse is on tour right now and traveling quite a bit, so unfortunately, it doesn't look like there is time to work this in to his schedule at this point. If anything opens up in the future, I will be sure to let you know."

Oh, what a giveaway! Did you read that? Did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about! Did you see her repressing me? You saw her, didn't you?

This is Jesse Kellerman we're talking about, not Stephen King nor Russell Crowe. Jesse is hardly being overwhelmed with interview requests. I did a Google news search on his name and there are no articles out on him, just three small notes about his book signings.

I'm sure the Jewish Journal and The Jewish Week will run the same by-the-numbers suck-ups to Jesse that they did on his parents, but I want to do something special and perverse (but totally Torah-sanctioned and not at all sexual, at least not in a gay way, or at least not in a gay way forbidden by Conservative halacah, in other words, nothing that JTS chancellor Arnold Eisen doesn't do to his students).

I can't believe I get the run-around from the Jesse Kellermans and Katie Grinches of the world. If Philip Roth does not answer my interview requests, that I understand. But Jesse Kellerman?

I'm going back to interviewing porn stars. They're easy.