“A New York Jew sharing an outhouse with a black widow spider at Joshua Tree Monument; a distinguished Professor of Politics wearing a Kleenex box as a hat; Bob’s Beef Buffet and Boysville of Michigan – This is a diverse and compelling tale of Epstein’s experiences with men that he came to love and cherish as friends and fellow travelers. Readers are offered a unique insight into to how the protections afforded by one’s family of origin and cultural heritage are also constraints that can be transcended if we open ourselves to others and let them matter to us. The men who are waiting to be discovered in these pages all matter to Irwin and he let himself matter to them.
Even as an Australian man, the age of Epstein’s son, I found each of these older men of various backgrounds and proclivities instantly relatable. I understand why they were and are so loved by him and why they loved him. He showed up – time and again – through thick and thin. He shared the fun and endured the hardships faced by friends as they suffered loss and were gripped by failing health. These men were also there for him as well. Many have now passed and some friendships continue to evolve. Take Jerry, his friend of 70 years – these two men’s knowing of each other is historically deep but there seems to be always something new to discuss along with digital devices to master. What a comfort to know they never will and that these two men, who grew up old school in Brooklyn and the Bronx, talk weekly and with ease express their deep and abiding love for one another.
The author’s natural curiosity, honest self-appraisal and attention to detail come together to produce a tender and often humorous rendering of a life well lived – so fortunate for the influence of friends and the blessing of being known and loved.”