Rick Borsten’s extraordinary first novel tells the story of Benny Horowitz, a young man who, terrified of the prospects of life after commencement, drops out of college just two weeks before graduation and finds a temporary job working at a halfway house for eight mentally challenged adults whose “deviant” and “inappropriate” behavior he is charged with reshaping. It isn’t long, however, before Benny begins to appreciate the uniqueness of each of the resident’s personalities and the richness of their worlds, and discovers that it is he, not they, who is being reshaped; and reshaped by one resident in particular—Nadia Christov, a mysterious 26 year old artist. It is Nadia’s rare ability to see the world with fresh eyes—to appreciate the natural wonders surrounding her “everywhere and all the time”—that finally convinces Benny it is she who holds the keys to the greatest of his post-commencement fears. While Benny’s story is unfolding, a series of flashbacks traces his unusual family history, beginning with his grandfather, Joseph, who comes to America from Poland in the early 1900s and whose pessimistic vision of death as life’s “great equalizer” is transformed over three generations into one of hope, renewal and wonder. Like Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, The Great Equalizer is a book to cherish, for it nourishes the spirit by reminding us of the transformational power of love.