Joseph is the main character of the novel. When we first meet him he is in the army, stationed in Kentucky training for combat in the Korean War. He is eighteen years old, a Jewish kid from New York City. He is the only son of Solomon and Myra Rabinowitz. His father was a pianist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. He and Myra fled Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933.
As a young boy Joseph learned piano from his father, but the tragic horrors of the halocaust caused his mother to have a nervous breakdown turning Solomon into a harsh task master. Joseph abandoned the piano. After he graduated from High School, Joseph enlisted into the army to fight his country's new enemies.
"I'll make you happy baby, just wait and see. For every kiss you give me, I'll give you three." From: "Be My Baby." By: The Ronettes