Thursday, April 30, 2020

Quick Pick book review - Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, by Deborah Feldman (now a Netflix show)

Quick Pick book review - Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, by Deborah Feldman (now a Netflix show)
  • Opening linesOn the eve of my twenty-fourth birthday I interview my mother. We meet at a vegetarian restaurants in Manhattan, one that announces itself as organic and farm-fresh, and despite my recent penchant for all things pork and shellfish, I am looking forward to the simplicity the meal promises.
  • Reason I picked up the book: I watched the series (also called Unorthodox) on Netflix and wanted to know more, since it was only four episodes long.
  • And what's this book about?
  • Now a Netflix original series!

    Unorthodox is the bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

    As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. Yet in spite of her repressive upbringing, Deborah grew into an independent-minded young woman whose stolen moments reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to imagine an alternative way of life among the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, regardless of the obstacles, she would have to forge a path—for herself and her son—to happiness and freedom.

    Remarkable and fascinating, this “sensitive and memorable coming-of-age story” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) is one you won’t be able to put down.

  • Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys a biography/memoir, or who wants to know more about Hasidic Jews.
  • Favorite paragraph: It was Chaya who convinced Zeidy to talk to the matchmaker, I learned, even though I had only just turned seventeen. In essence, she was my matchmaker; she was the one who decided to whom I was to be married. I'd like to hold her responsible for everything I went through as a result, but I am too wise for that. I know the way of our world, and the way people get swept along in the powerful current of our age-old traditions.
  • Something to know: The TV show is WAY different from the book; in the show, the main character moves to Germany before her baby is born. 
  • What I would have changed: Can't really change anything since this is a memoir. :) 
  • Overall rating: 4 stars out of 5.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to purchase on Amazon.

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Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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