Saturday, June 2, 2012
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, by Deborah Feldman
It's hard to imagine life in any strict religious community, and the Satmar Hasidim seem particularly remote from the experiences of many Americans. Raised in a Satmar Hasidim community in Brooklyn, Feldman gives us special insight into a closed and repressive world. Abandoned by her mother and married off at 17 to a man she had known for less than an hour, Feldman started taking classes at Sarah Lawrence College and soon determined that she had to leave the community, together with her young son. At first glance, her memoir is fresh and tart and quite absorbing.
In One Person, by John Irving
Much of Irving's thirteenth novel is piquantly charming, crisply funny, and let-your-guard-down madcap in the classic mode of a Frank Capra or Billy Wilder film. In One Person is an attempt to capture the harrowing personal journey of a single man as he finds his own sexual, emotional and even literary identity—and to capture it in a way that matters to every single person who picks up the novel. In that way, In One Person had to become a book not just about a single human being, but about every human being. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish, but as this novel unfolds with all the grace and power we’ve come to expect from John Irving, it’s clear that he’s done it.
Wife 22, by Melanie Gideon