Kathleen (Kat) Smith's Reviews > Wherever You Go: A Novel

Wherever You Go by Joan Leegant
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, historical-fiction
Read in August, 2011

Yona Stern has traveled from New York to Israel to make amends with her estranged sister, a stoic ideologue and mother of five who has dedicated herself to the radical West Bank settler cause. Yona’s personal life resembles nothing of her sister’s, but it isn’t politics that drove the two apart.

Now a respected Jerusalem Talmud teacher, Mark Greenglass was once a drug dealer saved by an eleventh-hour turn to Orthodox Judaism. But for reasons he can’t understand, he’s lost his once fervent religious passion. Is he through with God? Is God through with him?

Enter Aaron Blinder, a year-abroad drop-out with a history of failure whose famous father endlessly—some say obsessively—mines the Holocaust for his best-selling, melodramatic novels. Desperate for approval, Aaron finds a home on the violent fringe of Israeli society, with unforeseen and devastating consequences.

In a sweeping, beautifully written story, Joan Leegant weaves together three lives caught in the grip of a volatile and demanding faith. Emotionally wrenching and unmistakably timely, Wherever You Go shines a light on one of the most disturbing elements in Israeli society: Jewish extremist groups and their threat to the modern, democratic state. This is a stunningly prescient novel.

My Review:

The story was well written to include the lives of the three characters in the book, Yona Stern, Mark Greenglass and Aaron Blinder. They are united in a unique way, their love for Israel and the importance of being a Jew.

For Yona Stern, she struggles with rebuilding the relationship with her sister Dena for the last 12 years while rebuilding the issue of trust that has dissolved between them. Yona cheated on her sister with her boyfriend at the time, who confessed he didn't really love Dena for the last year and instead has fallen for her. Riddled with guilt, he ultimately confesses to Dena and ends the relationship thinking that they will now fall in love. The only problem is that Yona doesn't love him and never did.

Now she finds herself trying to finally reconcile the gap that has come between them in her section of the book and it seems that Dena only wishes to punish her sister through her actions while she allows her to visit by barely speaking to her, and for the most part staying so busy they don't have time to be alone.

Mark Greenglass has spent his year attempting to find out who he really is, under the watchful eyes of his father, who has more money then he will ever be able to spend in his lifetime. He doesn't believe that Mark will ever amount to anything and he spends time in and out of different college classes trying to find his faith again as a Jewish man.

Aaron Builder is a unique individual who is trying to make sure that the Jewish people are not forced out of Israel by their Arab neighbors. He will join whatever cause is necessary to make sure that the rising hostilities against Israel will not eliminate the country he has come to love.

I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review. This is probably one of the first books that I've had the opportunity to read that involves three different stories all in one but doesn't lose the reader along the way. There within the pages of this novel we find out just how far these individuals are willing to go to in the name of their cause? How far will Yona go to reconcile the relationship with her sister, Dena? How far will Mark go to hold on to his faith and still make his father proud? How far will Aaron go to ensure the safety of the land he loves? I would rate this a 4 out of 5 stars!

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