Playing Right Field By George Tabb - Soft Skull Press. George Tabb grew up in the wrong neighborhood. Francie Nolan could have told him that, although the surroundings werenıt as classy in her spot of Brooklyn , unemployed good-time Charlies made for better fathers. Tabbıs memoir, Playing Right Field: A Jew Grows in Greenwich , is horrifying, hysterical, poignant and ultimately cathartic, leaving me intensely curious to know more. Not more travails; God knows Tabb and his brothers endured a lifetimeıs worth before they hit puberty. But more about the people and events that kept him fighting and, more importantly, kept him from becoming something horrifically twisted. That Tabb apparently grew into the antithesis of his miserly, soul-killing father speaks volumes about the resilience of the human spirit. Tabb was about four years old when his parents divorced, and his dad used his money and influence to secure custody and minimize the visitation rights of Tabbıs mother. Then Daddy Tabb moved the three boys, along with a new trophy wife with two daughters, to a sprawling estate among the elites of Greenwich ,Connecticut . Between classmates who demonized them and regularly kicked their undersized asses for being ³dirty Jews,² a stepmother who treated them like immigrant laborers and a father whose sole joy in his sons seemed to be that his ex-wife didnıt have them, life in Greenwich was not for sissies. Or ³pussies,² more accurately, since that was the favored epithet flung at George Tabb by the bullies, both familial and incidental, throughout his childhood. Aside from the self-absorption, intolerance, sense of privilege and just plain meanness prevalent in the upscale viperıs pit of Tabbıs Greenwich , there are some purely scary characters. Giving a wide berth to snapping turtles that make a meal of ducklings and kittens is a no-brainer, but what to make of the evil lurking in the hearts of self-righteous WASP Juniors who literally crucify frogs in a perverted interpretation of doing ³Godıs work.² Not knowing anything about Tabbıs career as punk rocker Furious George and columnist for New York Press (a reflection of my narrow musical interests, not Tabbıs talents), I can only surmise punk served both to liberate him from the conventions of an intolerant society and exorcise the chilling realization that he rated little higher than that hapless frog in the social hierarchy. I think Tabbıs book will resonate with a lot of readers, especially young people who are enduring the same type of institutionalized bullying for being geeky or obese or any of the number of variations that donıt fit the current ideal of ³coolness.² But it will also speak to anyone who has ever felt ostracized for unconventional ideas or held to a different set of rules than the privileged class. Tabbıs memoirs take us up to his sophomore year in high school ­ and I presume author John Strausbaugh knows whereof he speaks when he says in the intro that future volumes may be on the horizon. Although the final chapter provides insight into how Tabb discovered his moral bearings and made a conscious decision about the type of man he wanted to become, it merely whet my appetite, because there is obviously a vast and interesting journey lying between the thought and the deed. Man, I hate having to wait for sequels. (Review by Donna Newman )