This book is disappointing. For a Rhodes scholar, this Wes Moore is not a very good writer. He tries too hard to make it sound "good." It is also veryThis book is disappointing. For a Rhodes scholar, this Wes Moore is not a very good writer. He tries too hard to make it sound "good." It is also very self-congratulatory and exceedingly dull. Moore even manages to make jumping out of an airplane sound dull. Skip it. ...more
**spoiler alert** As a Christian, I have always felt a little uneasy with the idea of Christians marrying Jews (or Muslims, or Atheists, or Pagans, et**spoiler alert** As a Christian, I have always felt a little uneasy with the idea of Christians marrying Jews (or Muslims, or Atheists, or Pagans, etc.). Not with being friends with or even dating Jews, but with marriage in particular. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation, and so I have never been able to reconcile the idea of sharing a life with someone who did not share that belief. To me, it is a far, far different thing than a difference in religion. It is a difference in a core, fundamental belief that shapes a person's values and has a profound effect on their eternity.
So it was with this belief that I sat down to read The Invisible Wall. And I found myself saddened by the divide on Harry's street, with the Christians on one side and the Jews on the other. And yet the extent of the divide to be not what I expected: I expected hate and antisemitism to be the main reason the Christians and Jews did not mix, but found it to be more because of the Jewish traditions and superstitions that did not allow them to mingle with the Christians. Of course there were some scenes of slurs being flung about and of the Jewish children being attacked on their way home from school. But what really stuck out to me were other things: the Christian Forshaws inviting little Harry to sit on their stoop and listen to their gramophone; the Christian "fire goys" who would go over the the Jewish homes and tend their fires on Fridays and Saturdays when it was forbidden for the Jews to do so; the interest the headmaster took in Lily's education. The "fire goys" especially stood out to me. For a Gentile to help a Jewish person in that way, in order to help the Jews maintain their religious tradition, in the 1910s was extraordinary. I also thought it interesting that the Christian Forshaws were more willing to accept Lily and her relationship with Arthur than Lily's Jewish family.
I was moved by the descriptions of the poverty surrounding the street, with such things standing out like Harry's mother cutting up her best dress to make a new suit for Harry and the depiction of Harry and his two brothers all three sharing a bed, even as they grow bigger and taller, and Harry's mother scrounging for bruised fruit and cutting out the bad parts and reselling them.
The neglect and abuse from Harry's father was another thing that touched me. My own grandfather has little to no relationship with his children. Though (to my knowledge) they suffered none of the physical or verbal abuse that Harry and his siblings endured, there were still some similarities in Harry's father and my grandfather. He showed no interest in them when they were growing up. He too stayed out of the house until after his children went to bed and he preferred gambling and drinking to staying home and getting to know his family. To this day, only one out of his six children (my mother) will have anything to do with him. It is sad to me to think that a man can be so disinterested in his own offspring. It makes me feel lucky to have such a wonderful, loving father.
And finally, I was moved to tears by the struggle of Lily and Arthur to have their love accepted by their families. I still have trouble reconciling the idea of sharing a life with someone whose beliefs so differ from your own (how would you raise your children, for example? To believe as you do? How strong can your belief be if you don't desire for your children to share it?), that was not the case with Arthur and Lily. Lily didn't put so much stock in her religion and in fact stopped attending synagogue. And my heart ached for them when Lily's family sat shivah for her after her marriage to Arthur, and I wept during her reunion with her mother....more
A deeply sad, and also frustrating account of the life and death of Chris McCandless, whose body was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderneA deeply sad, and also frustrating account of the life and death of Chris McCandless, whose body was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. Krakauer is quick to defend his subject, arguing against the common opinion that McCandless was either too ignorant or too arrogant to attempt his Alaskan adventure. Krakauer believes that McCandless made only one or two relatively innocent mistakes which lead to his death, but he fails to convince me. McCandless WAS either too ignorant or too arrogant (or too something else). He railed against materialism and conformity so much that he went too far to the other extreme. His whole plan was to try and survive ill-prepared, because it wasn't enough of an adventure for him to take precautions. THAT was his mistake, Krakauer. Not eating moldy seeds....more