Sweet Like Sugar
A young man wrestling with his faith, a man of faith wrestling with his youth. An unexpected friendship lies at the center of Sweet Like Sugar (Kensington Books), Wayne's award-winning new novel about fate, identity, and getting past our personal prejudices. But it’s also about Kurt Cobain, circuit parties, class stratification in the DC suburbs, Space Mountain, the Book of Esther, the war in Iraq, Israeli dance, Jewish summer camp, Barack Obama, Miami's bar scene, the Holocaust, interfaith relationships, immigrant communities in Jersey City, Will & Grace, crystal meth, kashrut, Sammy Davis Jr., and much more.
In Yiddish, there is a word for it: bashert—the person you are fated to meet. Twenty-something gay man Benji Steiner is skeptical of the concept. But the elderly rabbi who stumbles into Benji’s office one day has no doubts. Rabbi Jacob Zuckerman’s late wife, Sophie, was his bashert. And now that she is gone, he grapples with grief and loneliness.
Touched by the rabbi’s plight, Benji becomes his helper—driving him home after work, sitting in his living room listening to stories. Their friendship baffles everyone, especially Benji’s sharp-tongued, modestly observant mother, but Benji is rediscovering something he didn't know he'd lost.
The test of their friendship, and their faith, lies in the difficult truths they come to share. With each revelation, Benji learns what it means not just to be Jewish but to be fully human—imperfect, striving, and searching for acceptance.