Roth, Matthue 1978(?)-
ROTH, Matthue 1978(?)-
Born c. 1978; son of teachers; married; wife's name Itta (a photographer and sound artist). Education: Gratz College, teacher's certification (with honors), 1996; George Washington University, B.A., 1999. Religion: Orthodox Jewish.
Home—Philadelphia, PA. E-mail—[email protected]
Novelist, performance poet, and musician. Precious Legacy Tours, Prague, Czech Republic, translator and secretary, 1999; Congregation Kesher Israel, Washington, DC, assistant to Rabbi Barry Freundel, 1999-2000; Coates & Jarratt Consulting, Washington, DC, researcher and writer, 1999-2001; Environmental Science Associates, San Francisco, CA, assistant librarian, 2001; Pacific Coast Associates, San Francisco, secretary, 2001-04. Poetry and arts editor for Zeek magazine, 2002-04, and Blech!, 2003—. Performer on stage tours of Deepak Chopra and Carlos Santana, and in national solo shows, festivals, and other assemblies. Appeared in films, including The Waves, 2004, and Can't Touch This: Young Orthodox Jews and Sexuality. Member of band Chibi Vision.
Never Mind the Goldbergs, PUSH/Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.
Yom Kippur a Go-Go, Cleis Press (San Francisco, CA), 2005.
Candy in Action, Soft Skull Press (Brooklyn, NY), 2007.
Also author of Platonic (chapbook), 2001; Bellybudding (poetry), 2001; A Child's Garden of Gender (poetry), 2002; and Sometimes I Throw Stuff at This House (chapbook), illustrated by Phred Chao, 2002. Contributor to periodicals, including San Francisco Bay Guardian, Bitch, Central Europe Review, Cherry Bleeds, Loop, Farbrengen, Forward, Response, and Zero; contributor to books, including This Is PUSH, Homewrecker, Bottoms Up, and Quirkyalone. Author, with Mat Tonti, of graphic novel "Lost My Place," for World Jewish Digest Online.
In marked contrast to his focus on punk and hip-hop music, sexuality, and other aspects of urban youth culture, Matthue Roth's Orthodox Jewish faith influences his career as a performance poet as well as his work as a writer. With a degree in the anthropology of religion and a proficiency in several languages, Roth spent several years touring the country, performing at a variety of venues as a poet—including Home Box Office television's Def Poetry Jam—in addition to writing both poetry and prose. "I've always been a writer," he explained in an interview for TeensReadToo.com. "I used to make up stories with He-Man and Star Wars action figures. Then I started writing them down—and, yup, I never stopped." Roth's fiction, some of which is directed toward a young-adult audience, includes the novels Never Mind the Goldbergs and Yom Kippur a Go-Go. An autobiographical novel that follows the author's search for love and creative fulfillment via the writing life, Yom Kippur a Go-Go was described by Tikkun contributor Liz Winer as "exhilarating" due to its "frenetic pace," and "well worth the ride" due to Roth's effort to "wed tradition to the avant-garde."
Written for a younger audience than Yom Kippur a Go-Go, Never Mind the Goldbergs introduces Hava Aaronson, an independent-minded, hard-rocking, seventeen-year-old Orthodox Jew living in New York City and attending prep school. Hava's talent for acting reveals itself after she is cast in a local stage production. When a role in an upcoming Hollywood situation comedy is offered, she jumps at the chance. The role is that of a modern teen living in an Orthodox Jewish family, and although Hava's upbringing has prepared her for the role, it has not prepared her for life in Hollywood. After arriving in California to spend the summer as an actress, she is forced to deal with Hollywood culture and the pressure to alter her value system. "Hava tells her story in a vivid, funny, and distinguishable voice," commented School Library Journal reviewer Jack Forman. The critic praised Roth's novel for presenting an "irreverent, insider look into two cultures and a portrait of a character trying to define herself in these very different environments." A Kirkus Reviews critic stated that "readers will be both amused and intrigued by this lively teen struggling to amalgamate her religious and secular cultures without compromising either," while a Children's Bookwatch reviewer called Never Mind the Goldbergs "lively" deeming it a "unusual story of a very modern punkish teen."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Children's Bookwatch, September, 2005, review of Never Mind the Goldbergs.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Never Mind the Goldbergs, p. 125.
Library Media Connection, August-September, 2005, Sarah Applegate, review of Never Mind the Goldbergs, p. 81.
Publishers Weekly, March 7, 2005, review of Never Mind the Goldbergs, p. 68.
School Library Journal, June, 2005, Jack Forman, review of Never Mind the Goldbergs, p. 168.
Tikkun, January-February, 2006, Liz Winer, review of Yom Kippur a Go-Go, p. 75.
Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2005, review of Never Mind the Goldbergs, p. 136.
Matthue Roth Home Page,http://www.matthue.com (October 10, 2006).
PD Entertainment Web site,http://www.speakerspca.com/ (October 10, 2006), "Matthue Roth."
PUSH Web site,http://thisispush.com/ (October 10, 2006), "Matthue Roth."
Something Jewish Web site,http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/ (October 20, 2003), Alexandra J. Wall, "Talking about It" (interview).
TeensReadsToo.com, http://www.teensreadtoo.com/ (October 10, 2006), interview with Roth.
Zeek,http://www.zeek.net/ (October 10, 2006), interview with Roth."