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Saving Ruth

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  684 ratings  ·  74 reviews
When Ruth returns home to the South for the summer after her freshman year at college, a near tragedy pushes her to uncover family truths and take a good look at the woman she wants to become.

Growing up in Alabama, all Ruth Wasserman wanted was to be a blond Baptist cheerleader. But as a curly-haired Jew with a rampant sweet tooth and a smart mouth, this was an impossible
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  684 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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May 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Good, easy writing--and a quick read--but the plot of this book made me feel like I was reading the book equivalent of an after-school special. Maybe it's supposed to be a tween/teen book?
Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

I can remember how weird it was to come home that first summer after being away for 2 semesters. You’re used to so much freedom and all of a sudden you are under the same roof with your parents and the same rules. As for friends, it always took a little while to get back into the swing of things with people you didn’t see that often.

After reading so much YA, it was interesting to read an adult contemporary title about a 19-year old who had some
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
This was a very good young adult read. Goes to show, that in real life even the perfect family you see on the outside is as dysfunctional as the rest of us. This novel, has quite a few mishaps going on, but has some nice self learning in the end. I thought that this book with the subjects it covered, was not sugar coated in the least. And was happy to see that while it was a good ending for the main characters, it wasn't your average happily lives ever after.
Joy Matteson
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Ruth Wasserman, home from her first year of college, attempts to reconnect with her brother while undergoing struggles revolving around an eating disorder. I liked the book's premise, really wanted to like it, but I feel the publisher got the genre mixed up--this should definitely have been categorized as young adult fiction, not in the adult women's fiction genre. This is a book teen girls should love, but since it's not marketed to them, they probably won't read it. Unfortunately, there's not ...more
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, college, summer, south
I don't think I've ever read a sibling relationship depicted so accurately (at least, to my life), particularly a brother-sister one. I loved that that took center stage here, instead of the eating disorder or race issues that were also at play. Those were present, and definitely discussed extensively and appropriately, but every time David & Ruth interacted it was a bit like seeing my own relationship with my brother on the printed page. Although he and I never had the kind of heartwarming ...more
Deanne Oickle-conrad
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Ruth. A good summer read. The characters were believable. It was not a perfect read ; I expected a bit more crisis and a bit deeper revelation by the various characters. I did not get the sense that resolution was or would be reached. 4 stars only because I liked the swim team references and pool setting which I can relate.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
A quick, entertaining read, with some great insights into families and the drama of trying to get your head straight in college. Ruth and David are lovable and it was fun to read about a sibling relationship for a change. But pretty lightweight when all was said and done--skimmed the surface of the swimming pool so to speak.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A nice diversion. I'm closer to Ruth's mothers age, but I enjoyed reading about her struggles. No big surprises or reveals here. A look at racism, anorexia, depression and family. No great revelations. But again, I enjoyed the diversion.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a perfect summer read- only fitting that I read 75% of it while lying at the pool!
Easy read but dramatic issues. Ruth Wasserman comes home for the summer following her freshman year at college a different person - 35 lbs lighter. Her brother and her parents are acting different too- each deal with their own issues. Then a near drowning at the community pool opens up even more drama.
Jana McBeth
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an intensely great read. Very well written and the story is not anticipated in my opinion. I thought it dealt with the issues in a very realistic way yet it wasn't a depressing book to read. I thought it was excellent!
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-ones-i-love
Ruth is someone you may have met. She's kind and compassionate. She's lacks self esteem and finds it in a way that many of us struggle with. Ruth Wasserman is REAL and once again, Zoe Fishman puts a lot of herself into her novels which always makes me like them that much more!
Jessica Evans
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 - Definitely a YA read. It was okay, but lacking. I think it could have been better, had the author chosen only one turmoil in this poor family’s life - anorexia, racism, depression, empty nest... Too much to resolve. The plot went on forever, and there were no pages left to end it...
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the book. It has a happy? ending - or not. The main character seems more together but her life isn't pie in the sky. This is not Jane Eyre, yet I found it worthwhile. I wish I could write books like this instead the sad sack sorrowful characters I dream up.
Shelia Roberts
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was ok - it held my interest, but it was really not that great. There was quite a bit of foul language that did not add anything to the writing. I had read another book by Zoe Fishman that was better than this one. Can't win 'em all.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Just great!
Jana Butina
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was seeking another book by this author at my local library when I came across this title. This book would have received a higher rating had I read it 30 years earlier at the age 14.
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was on my "to read" list for a long time. Unfortunately, it did not capture my attention in the way that I'd hoped. I gave up about half way through.
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-challenge

It's the start of summer in the small Alabama town when siblings, David and Ruth Wasserman, arrive home from college. David, the older of the two, is not quite the same as when he first left town. He's not sociable, talkative or even anxious to play soccer. He's withdrawn, secretive, non-talkative and spends way too much time drinking and smoking weed.

Ruth is completely different; she's come home about 35 pounds lighter and feeling good about her self for the first time in her life. She's
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't like this one as much as the last one I read from her in the beginning, but I started enjoying it more as the story unfolded.
Melanie Coombes
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I would describe this as a coming of age story. The book primarily revolves around nineteen year old Ruth and her slightly older brother, David.

The story takes place one hot summer in Alabama, while both siblings are home on college break. They spend their time lifeguarding and coaching at the local summer pool. Ruth, insecure and suffering from low self esteem, finds herself finally acknowledged and popular after a drastic weight loss. David, meanwhile, has always been the popular, smart,
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
Ruth Wasserman was a wallflower in high school, younger sister of her handsome and athletic brother. Now as Ruth returns home for the summer, it seems that everyone will pick up right where they left off almost a year ago. Only things have changed. Ruth, for one, has lost A LOT of weight and is struggling to find herself in dieting. Her brother is even more secretive than he ever was, one of her brother's friends is finally interested in dating her and, to top it all off, it seems that her ...more
Emily Crow
This story has a lot going on in it. The protagonist, Ruth, is returning home to Alabama for the summer after her freshman year of college, complete with a brand new eating disorder. She has always felt like the family failure, and being skinny is the one achievement she holds on to. Meanwhile, her brother is withdrawn and secretive, and her parents are struggling with their empty nest. Soon, we get more issues, of racism in a small Southern town and (on a completely separate note), the ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-won
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I think that it could fall into the themes of coming-of-age, and family. The story line deals with the issues of race, religion, drug use and eating disorders.

The main character, Ruth, a Jewish girl who grew up in the South, is home from college, in Michigan, for the summer. She and her brother David, who seem to have grown apart, are working at th pool together. David is sullen and withdrawn and Ruth is having a hard time with food. As Ruth spirals
Beth Peninger
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
I almost gave it one star but thought 2 was probably more fair. Stephen King (stick with me) says in his book "On Writing" to stay true to your character. Meaning if they cuss, they cuss. If they do drugs, they do drugs. You see what he's saying I'm sure. Well Fishman made her characters pot heads and drunks. UGH. Perhaps that was true to her characters but UGH. It was over the top, especially the language. I should have counted how many times the f-bomb was dropped. Too much. I don't mind it ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was completely captivating - character development was superb. The main character, Ruth's struggles with weight, body image, and low self esteem are so common among young girls. It was interesting to see the situation primarily through her eyes, then having it juxtaposed against the observations of others; I was shocked to learn what David's secret was; I honestly thought it was going to be something completely different. There are a lot of themes going on in this book. At it's heart, ...more
Karen White
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-for-fun, won-it
I finished this book several weeks ago, and have put off writing a review. Partly because I wanted to have time to write it thoughtfully, but I think I also needed some distance from it as so many elements hit so close to home for me.

Fishman is a fantastic storyteller – I was easily and instantly swept up into the drama of a family inelegantly stumbling through the adjustments of an empty nest refilled for the summer. Everyone is pushing everyone else away and then struggling to pull back
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Zoe Fishman's debut novel, Balancing Acts, read like a contractually obligated Women's Fiction in which a bunch of friends laugh, cry and bond. Her sophomore effort, Saving Ruth, feels more personal and is a much stronger effort. Although not purely autobiographical, the experience of a young Jewish woman in a Southern town is something Fishman shares with her protagonist Ruth, along with difficult issues about eating and weight. It's interesting to read a book about a brother-sister ...more
Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
Saving Ruth is a novel about a brother and sister, well really a whole family, at a crossroads. It's summer break and Ruth and David are home from college. Ruth comes home much thinner with a probable eating disorder. David is acting equally as secretive. Their parents are struggling with being empty nesters during the school year. This is a good novel, but there were so many times when I cringed at how the characters were behaving. The book brings up racism in the South, eating disorders, ...more
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lynne
Shelves: general-fiction
I got this off the "best bets" shelf of the local library. I was chagrined to discover the title character, a nineteen-year-old southerner, had developed an eating disorder during her freshman year at college. Ugh! The last thing I want to do is read a novel narrated by some anorexic bitch. However, by that point I was already caught up in the story of Ruth's summer in Alabama and the aftermath of a near-tragic accident. Fortunately, her eating disorder took a back seat to the relationships in ...more
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