Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Nan A. Talese (January 21, 2014) ISBN-13: 978-0385538091 Author: Leah Vincent Cover art: I love the contrast with the tornHardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Nan A. Talese (January 21, 2014) ISBN-13: 978-0385538091 Author: Leah Vincent Cover art: I love the contrast with the torn stockings. Obtained: Purchased Overall rating: *** out of 5 stars
Cut me loose by Leah Vincent Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews
Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things: God and the men who ruled their world. But the tradition-bound future Leah envisioned for herself was cut short when, at sixteen, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend, a violation of religious law that forbids contact between members of the opposite sex. Leah's parents were unforgiving. Afraid, in part, that her behavior would affect the marriage prospects of their other children, they put her on a plane and cut off ties. Cast out in New York City, without a father or husband tethering her to the Orthodox community, Leah was unprepared to navigate the freedoms of secular life. She spent the next few years using her sexuality as a way of attracting the male approval she had been conditioned to seek out as a child, while becoming increasingly unfaithful to the religious dogma of her past. Fast-paced, mesmerizing, and brutally honest, Cut Me Loose tells the story of one woman's harrowing struggle to define herself as an individual. Through Leah's eyes, we confront not only the oppressive world of religious fundamentalism, but also the broader issues that face even the most secular young women as they grapple with sexuality and identity. (Synopsis provided by goodreads)
After reading Debroah Feldmans book, I wanted to read more stories of women in a different sect of Judaism then I am familiar with. Vincent's book was about the Yeshivish community, that is one I am not familiar with, so I promptly ordered the book and eagerly awaited it's arrival hoping to learn about this sect of Judaism.
I was left wanting more. I wish she would have told the readers more about her childhood and her background and why she was sent away. Honestly, this was more about her sexual experiences after leaving, which at times for me felt a little like over sharing, but that is just me and could be partly due to my upbringing and my own religious views. (It's just not spoken of that bluntly in my circles.)
Yes, I know it's said right in the description about the sexual aspect of the book, but I was not expecting it to be that blunt.
Aside from that, I did enjoy the book well enough, and I felt that she had a unique voice and I did learn a little about a new sect of Judaism.
If you are uncomfortable with blunt speak about sexuality, this book may not be for you, if that doesn't bother you and you want to learn about a lesser known sect of Judaism, then this may be the book for you. I would however pick up another book by Vincent. ...more
Paperback: 255 pages Publisher: NYU Press (August 6, 2004) ISBN-10: 0814751970 Author: Stephanie Wellen Levine Cover art: I like the simplicity. Obtained:Paperback: 255 pages Publisher: NYU Press (August 6, 2004) ISBN-10: 0814751970 Author: Stephanie Wellen Levine Cover art: I like the simplicity. Obtained: Bought Overall rating: **** out of 5 stars
Mystics, Mavericks and Merrymakers by Stephanie Wellen Levine Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews
From the ardently religious young woman who longs for the life of a male scholar to the young rebel who visits a strip club, smokes pot, and agonizes over her loss of faith to the proud Lubavitcher with a desire for a high-powered career, Stephanie Wellen Levine provides a rare glimpse into the inner worlds and daily lives of these Hasidic girls. Lubavitcher Hasidim are famous for their efforts to inspire secular Jews to become more observant and for their messianic fervor. Strict followers of Orthodox Judaism, they maintain sharp gender-role distinctions. Levine spent a year living in the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, participating in the rhythms of Hasidic girlhood. Drawing on many intimate hours among Hasidim and over 30 in-depth interviews, Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers offers rich portraits of individual Hasidic young women and how they deal with the conflicts between the regimented society in which they live and the pull of mainstream American life. This superbly crafted book offers intimate stories from Hasidic teenagers' lives, providing an intriguing twist to a universal theme: the struggle to grow up and define who we are within the context of culture, family, and life-driving beliefs. (Synopsis provided by Amazon)
I read this one as I have a friend who is Chabad Lubavitch and she is from Crown Heights. I wanted to learn more about her community as Chabad is very different from Messianic.
While reading this book I learned that the extreame kindness is an attribute for the whole group. I have met a few others who are Chabad and every single one of them has been such a genuine and kind person. This book shows how that is a staple in that community.
Each of the ladies in that were interviewed in this book were very different. There was one girl who questioned her community and her religion, I found her story to be the most interesting in its own way, I wanted to know why she had questions why no one would answer the questions. I didn't get all the answers to her story that I wanted sadly.
I did enjoy how Levine describes how she went back to talk to one of the girls to get her to sign a release so that her story could be used. I was interested to see how the more "free" girls of the book had changed so much.
Of course all of the girls are not called by their actual names in the book to protect their identities. If you are interested in the Chabad community and want to know more I would encourage you to read this book. ...more