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August 15, 2003 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-15

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The 0





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Aaron Karo's "Ruminations on College Life"
is an inside look at what really happens when
parents send their kids to campus.

1

t.

come Sunday evening, he could not
get himself to bed at a decent hour. So
one sleepless night, Karo decided to
quick warning to all neurot- send out an e-mail of his thoughts and
ic Jewish parents about to
observations about college to 20 of his
send their firstborn away to
high-school friends.
college for the first time this
Karo's friends, amused by his mus-
year: Life on campus isn't as
ings, forwarded it on to their respec-
meshuganah as you think — it's worse.
tive friends. Soon enough, Karo's
Forget your Peterson's Guide to
humorous e-mail rants about dorm
College. Throw out your Hillel Guide
life, frat parties and, of course, drink-
to Jewish Life on Campus.
ing became increasingly popular across
Yes, these guides are great if you're
the country. By graduation, his e-mail
looking to find the average number of
list boasted more than 11,000 sub-
volumes in the library or the guessti-
scribers worldwide.
mated percentage of undergraduate
Capitalizing on his college success,
Jewish students (as my dad so meticu-
Karo, a self-proclaimed "Conservative
lously calculated on my behalf for vir-
Jew from New York," compiled his four
tually every school in the nation).
years of material into Ruminations,
But they all miss out on one major
which is already into its second printing.
subject: the recklessness inherent in
"There are tons of books about col-
being a college student on today's
lege. Some will tell you what classes to
campuses. It's the one thing that's
take and others will tell you how to
often missing in the plethora of col-
deal with an unruly roommate," Karo
lege manuals found in your local
says. "But none will tell you what real-
bookstore.
ly goes down in the tiny dorm rooms
You know, the behind-the-scenes
and frat-house basements of colleges
stuff. The stuff your boychik really
across the nation and around the
does when he says he "went out with
world. This one will."
some friends for a bite to eat."
Karo says that he does not focus on
Now, fortunately, we have an inside
academics in Ruminations (even
look available to us of what really hap-
though he attended and graduated
pens on campus — for those of you
magna cum laude from the prestigious
who wish to peek.
Wharton School of Business) because
Enter Aaron Karo [pronounced
the subject is not as entertaining as his
KAY-ro], a recent graduate of the
other stories.
University of Pennsylvania ('01), and
For example, he recalls an especially
author of the college social bible
ludicrous incident about his fraternity
Ruminations on College Lift (Fireside
brother who got a grade dropped after
Books; $10).
he told a department head that he'd had
Karo's book, which was released in
"swollen testicles the whole semester."
August 2002 and is on its way to
These stories, among dozens of
becoming a campus cult classic, offers
other ridiculous collegiate moments,
a self-exposed, unadulterated view of
are what prompted Karo to compile
what real student life is like — a tell-
the very best of his random thoughts
it-like-it-is, stream-of-consciousness
and experiences into the book.
flow of anecdotes that reads like a
Although Karo does not venture
bathroom conversation at a frat house.
into the realm of Jewish humor in
Yet, it's not something Karo ever
Ruminations — because he believes his
intended to do.
experiences are "universal to college
Early during his freshman year at
kids all over the country" — he admits
Penn, Karo's sleep schedule was so
that much of his writing style and
skewed from the weekend's late-night
humor is "Seinfeld-esque" and is large-
partying and excessive drinking that
ly shaped through his Jewish upbring-
ing on Long Island.
Adam Weintraub is a freelance writer
"I've been around Jews my whole life;
so I guess my humor in largely based
based in Sherman Oaks, Calif

A

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