Ashley's Reviews > The Triumph of Deborah

The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
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Jul 14, 2014

did not like it
bookshelves: mylibrary, skipped-to-end
Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy

I was so excited about this book, which I randomly picked up out of a sale bin at Borders. The story of Deborah has always interested me, and I was curious to see it from the perspective of a female Israeli professor. But here the author has basically turned the story of the judge and prophetess Deborah and Barak, a story with so much political and cultural promise, into a bad soap opera. Maybe I found the style of her prose (weirdly impersonal) off-putting, but I didn't enjoy this.

I also was disappointed in the characters. It surprised me that a novel written by an educated woman with a predominantly female cast of characters could be so ... what's the opposite of empowering? For a novel with Deborah's name in the title, not much of the novel is actually devoted to understanding her. There are few redeeming qualities about Barak, who is supposed to be the desire of all the women around him, and the women seem strangely satisfied to marry and love men who mistreat or discount them. I understand the culture and attitude towards marriage is different from ours today, but seriously. These women seem to possess neither intelligence nor a will of their own, slaves to their desires and misguided passions. One character, when offered a life on her own terms utilizing her own skills and intelligence, turns away from it to throw herself back at the feet of the man who mistreated and took advantage of her. Another one marries and falls in love with a man simply because he looks like her dead husband--something the man himself predicts with maddening smugness. And the list goes on.

I rarely can find nothing redeeming in a novel, which makes this all the more baffling. What a disappointment.
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Carolyn The opposite of empowering is "demeaning", and the description of the women and their insecurities was exactly that. I agree with you 100%!

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