Alee's Reviews > My Name Is Asher Lev

My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
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Mar 29, 10

Read from March 15 to 29, 2010

Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasidic Jew. His parents are deeply involved in supporting persecuted members of their religion throughout the world. Asher's mother works diligently toward her PhD in Russian Affairs, and his father often travels to bring hope to faraway members of the faith. As a young child Asher develops an interest in art. Art is considered unnecessary and an inappropriate curiosity for a Hasidic Jew, so his parents attempt to dissuade him from spending his time drawing. Asher, however, is incredibly talented and cannot ignore his creativity.

As he grows, Asher's parents become more frustrated with his artistic ambitions. Asher befriends a fallen Jew and renowned artist, Jacob Kahn. Jacob sees great potential in Asher, and takes him under his wing. As an apprentice to Jacob, Asher's skills blossom. Soon, showcases of his work are drawing great attention and he is well-known. Asher's father cannot come to terms with his son's lifestyle, and refuses to acknowledge his accomplishments.

Asher continues to develop as an artist, and his talents lead him to create things he never dreamed he would. He struggles between his desire to please his parents and remain true to his Jewish faith, and his need to create meaningful pieces of art. This book offers incredible insight into the beautiful, disastrous world of an artist unappreciated by those he loves most. Asher's coming-of-age struggle to find his own identity while living up to his parents' expectations is one many of us can relate to. Coupling this recognizable theme with the uniqueness of Asher's situation, Potok creates a compelling case for remaining true to yourself despite unthinkable obstacles.
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