Woodstock Nation. Apollo Mission to the Moon. Chappaquiddick. Moratorium Day in Washington. My Lai. The draft lottery. New York beats Baltimore in football, baseball, basketball.
Nehru jackets are out. Virginity is still in. Insulated in exotic Crown Heights, Jason Kole is in heaven. Safe from his draft board in seminary, comfortable in graduate school, he is busy applying his religious education to undoing religious girls. Once an Orthodox girl has permitted the very first touch, the only other boundary is to allow everything. But between those perimeters, ah, between those borders, lies the paradise of the semi-righteous.
Jason is ready to taste forbidden foods, to ride in a car on the Sabbath, to move out, to get it, any time he wanted it, from Jean, the pro his buddy Jonesey knows on 38th Street. Then he meets Rachel, a girl without the pathways of Eastern Parkway in her past, a girl with her own place, her own bed, her own very good time.
Damaged Goods is the story of 1969 and of Jason’s battles. In the shadow of the Vietnam War, he wrestles with his Old World father, his gentle mother, his ritual-filled upbringing, and the enticing but self-possessed Rachel. Damaged Goods is the story of a special Brooklyn: the Eastern Parkway promenades, the sins earned and cast away at Prospect Park Lake, Rockaway summers, special yeshivas for the draft eligible, Herzl House Plan parties, holidays inseparable from Holy Days.