Meg - A Bookish Affair's Reviews > I am Forbidden

I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
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May 15, 12

bookshelves: 2012, fiction, non-fiction
Read from May 13 to 15, 2012

3.5. I love when books can take me to some place that I haven't been before. Before this book, I was not familiar with the Satmar sect of Judaism, a very conservative sect that really limits what women in the sect are able to do. Women are supposed to be almost subservient to their husbands at all times. They don't hold a lot of power. It was interesting to get a glimpse of what it must be like to be in that world. It's also very interesting that the author grew up in a sect much like the one Mila finds herself living in later on in the book once she marries Josef. The author obviously left the sect and has been out of the sect for awhile as she would have never been able to have written a book like this one while remaining a part of the sect.

Standing at under 300 pages, this book that covers from WWII to the present day moves very quickly and sometimes too quickly for my own liking. While I do like books that move quickly, I found myself wishing that the author would dwell a little bit longer and explain some things. I found myself having to look up a lot about the Satmar sect as it was totally unfamiliar to me and I didn't want to miss anything in the book. I thought that the author really had three stories here that she could have written a book about each. The first story being about Josef's adoptive mother and his childhood and ultimately being taken in by another Satmar family. The second being about Mila's life in Williamsburg. The third being about Mila's grandchildren. All of these stories could have included enough detail to make really full stories.

Because the book moves so quickly, it's almost as if you are looking through a window at the characters but you don't really get to know what's going on inside of the characters heads. To me, this was both a bonus and a detriment. It's a detriment because I really wanted to know why the characters were thinking what they were thinking. It was a bonus because the writing is so crisp and fresh that the sort of sparseness of detail doesn't really detract and allows the writing to really shine through.

Bottom line: A very interesting historical fiction that covers a lot of ground.
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