Renee's Reviews > Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
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Aug 12, 12

Read in August, 2012

I read Unorthodox in just a day; it had me that captivated. Deborah Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a religious tradition that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.If the location was not mentioned early in the book, I would have believed it to be Afghanistan or Iran, anywhere, but certainly not Brooklyn, New York.

Deborah was child of a mentally retarded father and a mother who left the Hasidic community when when she was still a toddler. She was raised by her strictly religious grandparents along with aunts and uncles who enforced customs with a relentless emphasis on rules that governed everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak, to what she was allowed to read.

Although Unorthodox is not literary genius and comes up short in many areas (the few chapters on adult life feel rushed and incomplete, the book begins with an interview with her estranged mother and although it appears they have reunited from the Acknowledgements, she is never mentioned again, huge events (such as 9/11) are glossed over) it is still a rare glimpse into the insular and oppressive Satmar world.
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