“David Kalis has written an absorbing coming of age story with an unusual backdrop: Russia at the end of the Soviet Union. His many experiences, from comedic to terrifying and everything in between, make for great reading. Get this book!” – Rabbi Keith Stern

“Dave’s story is a riveting adventure that highlights the universal quest for purpose and connection. He learns that answers are closer than we expect, often found within ourselves and our heritage.” Darci Klein, Author, To Full Term

“I read Vodka Shot, Pickle Chaser in just over 24 hours – I simply couldn’t put it down. While I am no history buff, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this critical, tumultuous period in Russia’s history. Reading Kalis’ first-hand accounts was both exciting and nerve-wracking, as he paints a picture very few can actually tell. The everyday challenges of securing a job,  finding a place to live, making friends and learning the language, provide an insider’s look at the ups and downs of living in a foreign country. However, many of Kalis’ experiences are far from every day from what the average ex-pat experiences – (interacting with the Russian mob for one) – thus making this an extraordinary, one of a kind story. Most of all, I loved the personal journey the author takes you on and the connection he makes regarding what he learned about Russia, his ancestors and himself – and how it shaped who he is today, as a husband and father, as well as, the impact it had in his current involvement in local politics and his faith. This book will make for a wonderful gift for any recent high school or college grad who thinks he or she needs to have their entire lives planned out. Vodka Shot, Pickle Chaser will give them the confidence to know it’s OK to take your time in figuring out “who you are”, and it’s often times the unplanned path you take that ends up having the greatest impact on one’s personal development.” – Jennifer Cognetta Brisson, Author

“Reading Kalis’ firsthand experiences through the Former Soviet Union gave me the opportunity to witness history through his eyes. It gave me a much deeper perspective and understanding into a community where we now have a tremendous focus of our work. His story of tracing his roots and finding his connection to Judaism is compelling and straightforward, and most importantly will resonate with Jewish young adults.” – David Cygielman, CEO, Moishe House

“David Kalis’ wonderfully compelling memoir, Vodka Shot, Pickle Chaser, has all the attributes of storytelling at its best: masterful suspense and an engaging, voice-driven narrative that pulls us into the heart of an exotic adventure. It is an entertaining and intelligent portrayal of the defiant moodiness of Russian culture from the point of view of a young, endearing, and wholly American protagonist, who longs for connection to a world that is sometimes dangerous, often elusive, and almost always unfamiliar.” – Laurie Baker, author


Read about David’s journey to Shepetovka in this article in English or Russian

Watch an interview with David on WGBH’s Greater Boston 

Watch an Interview with David on NewTV with Jenn Adams

Watch David on Newton Newsmakers