A coming-of-age story set during the rising tide of World War II, How to Find Your Way in the Dark follows Sheldon Horowitz from his humble start in a cabin in rural Massachusetts, through the trauma of his father's murder and the murky experience of assimilation in Hartford, Connecticut, to the birth of stand-up comedy in the Catskills--all while he and his friends are beset by anti-Semitic neighbors, employers, and criminals.
I am convinced that Derek B. Miller’s How to Find Your Way in the Dark was expressly tailored to my tastes and that I am its ideal reader. I suspect others will feel the same way; it’s that kind of book ... In less confident hands the many moving parts would collapse into a jumble. Miller, however, juggles each element effortlessly. His character portraits are indelible, often heartbreaking. At times this novel moved me to tears, the highest possible compliment.
... rollicking ... Miller has crafted a wide-ranging, years-spanning yet tightly structured plot, and he excels at placing memorable characters in unusual circumstances ... An underlying seriousness lies at the heart of all of this intrigue, hilarity and fun ... The ending of How to Find Your Way in the Dark is nothing short of brilliant, tying up a variety of loose ends while making a powerful statement about the need to fully recognize and address antisemitism. Readers are left with much to ponder, including life’s many uncertainties and cruel twists of fate. Despite these unhappy truths, we are also left with the uplifting wisdom of Lenny’s urgent prayer: 'Dear God, give me the strength to be joyful.'
This is one busy book! There’s enough plot here for three novels. At its heart, though, it’s the story of Sheldon Horowitz, who is 12 when readers first meet him and soon to become an orphan after his father is murdered ... This only scratches the surface of this incident-rich, coming-of-age novel—perhaps too incident-rich, since the lives of Abe and Mirabelle tend to divert attention from Sheldon’s story. Nevertheless, the story is compelling and deeply satisfying.