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Between Gods: A Memoir

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  714 ratings  ·  109 reviews
From the Man Booker-nominated author of the novel Far to Go and one of our most talented young writers comes an unflinching, moving and unforgettable memoir about family secrets and the rediscovered past.

Alison Pick was born in the 1970s and raised in a supportive, loving family. She grew up laughing with her sister and cousins, and doting on her grandparents. Then as a
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Doubleday Canada
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Paula Martin I have wondered about this too. Nothing points though to him being Shalom Auslander more than anyone else - and also, I am not sure Shalom's mother wo…moreI have wondered about this too. Nothing points though to him being Shalom Auslander more than anyone else - and also, I am not sure Shalom's mother would have come to his readings. I still think he is an incredible and important character. Have you found anything since asking your question first?(less)

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At a time of transition – preparing for her wedding and finishing her first novel, set during the Holocaust – the author decided to convert to Judaism, the faith of her father’s Czech family. There are so many things going on in this sensitive and engrossing memoir: depression, her family’s Holocaust history, her conversion, career struggles, moving to Toronto, adjusting to marriage, and then pregnancy and motherhood following soon after – leading full circle to a time of postpartum depression. ...more
Alison Baxter
Mar 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
As a convert to Judaism, I was very interested in reading this book. My aversion to the author is so great that I simply cannot finish it. Whining, privileged, cloying, vain..................not someone I would want to know in a memoir or otherwise.
Kitty B
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful memoir gracefully touches on so many heavy and deep subjects; depression, conversion to Judaism, familial relationships, cultural and religious heritage, the Holocaust, motherhood.... it’s themes are as complex as life itself. This is a memoir borne from a period of introspection and personal conflict in the face of the burdensome conversion road she sets upon. But as Pick’s therapist tells her, ‘there is a time for contemplating life and a time for living it’. I think this book a ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
A really beautiful memoir about depression and finding yourself through religion. Alison Pick writes so beautifully and creatively that you can't help but live along with her, through her depressions, troubles during pregnancy, and journey toward finding herself.

For someone who has never been very religious, I'm always very interested in others' religious journeys, and Alison tells a heart-wrenching tale about her journey toward Judaism and how her family's past has called to her all her life.
Heather Fineisen
I can certainly see why Pick has the accolades underher belt. This is a book that is hard to put down. Especially if you are addicted to stories of spiritual quests and long depressive sad lives to compare to your own fucked up life. If you are, and I certainly am, this is the perfect book for you.

Pick finds out her grandparents escaped from Czechoslovakia and pretended to be Christians. Her world and faith is rocked when she learns of her Jewish Heritage and that her relatives have died in Aus
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish
There are many levels on which the reader can read and appreciate Pick's memoir, Between Gods.

1) As a psychological memoir, detailing the ups-and-downs of depression, particularly in relation to the spiritual life of humans.
2) As a part of the Shoah narrative.
3) As a Jewish book, detailing the choices of a convert and connection with various beliefs and practices.

Between Gods very much addresses the first two issues so well, I'd like to see it used in classrooms where depression and/or the Shoah
I will put a quote here when the book is published

I seem to have run the gamut on Christianity over these past few months. I have read a book about grace, one about people who are leaving the church even though they are still believers, another about Christians who are examining the way they see the Bible, and then a book about evangelicals who are trying to change the more conservative wing of Christianity. I read often about my faith, but I have been especially eclectic lately.

Which brings me
Thank you, Random House and GoodReads for the free copy!

Between Gods is the first thing I've read by Alison Pick, and it won't be the last. Her writing style is vivid, her descriptions are beautiful, and I know now that I'm going to have to read her novels and poetry.

What really sticks in my mind are the little moments she included to characterize the people she writes about. The way her father reacted when he watches sad movies, for example, said so much about him.

And the same goes for Alison h
Carolyn Somerville
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended by Lucie for book club. I really wasn't interested in reading this book. At all. But I forced myself to (why I'm not sure as no one else in the book club is going to read it. Sorry Lucie will). But I found it to be very readable and enjoyable. It wasn't just a story about this woman's conversion but also her depression, marriage, parenthood and the questions we all ask ourselves about those things. ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish, memoir, ebook
I had this on my to-read list for years. The reason I held out hope my library would acquire a copy (rarely do I buy books on my teacher's salary) was because I felt a connection with Alison Pick's experience. I, too, had family that pushed aside Jewish roots out of fear following the Shoah. I, too, have been impacted by the weighty non-presence of my ancestors and their culture. I, too, have had depression.

As I started to (finally!) read, I was drawn in by Pick's exploration of her family's hi
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This overwrought book is well-written, I grant it that. Pick's prose is a pleasure to read. However, I found myself annoyed at the first 10 or so chapters. To understand, a bit of history needs telling.

The author decides, in adulthood, that she wants to convert to Judaism when she accidentally discovered that her father's family had been Jewish until the Nazis took over in Czechoslovakia. Then they converted to Catholicism and managed to escape to Canada, where they fearfully constructed a Chris
Laura Duhan
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After great tragedy, a family comes to Canada, hoping to find a new life, hoping to leave old suffering and old identity behind. This works well … for one generation, maybe two. And then hints of what was suppressed begin to surface. But the situation is no longer tragic. Because Canada can be a safe place to confront the past, make peace with it, and choose a future. That’s what Alison, the part of author Alison Pick showcased in the Memoir Between Gods does. She shows how this journey into ide ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I saw this book on someone's Top 10 list in a national paper, and borrowed it from the library on a whim. It sat in a pile of books for two weeks while I tried to decide if I wanted to read it. I finally picked it up, and to my surprise, I just couldn't put it down.

When Alison Pick was a young woman, she discovered that her grandparents were Jews who fled Europe in 1938 and upon arrival in Canada, hid their history from everyone, going to a Christian church, never telling anyone their true story
Elisabeth Null
Absolutely wonderful memoir of a writer trying to connect to her recently discovered holocaust ancestors through exploring and eventually converting to Judaism despite her Christian upbringing. As an Episcopalian who maintains a Jewish home with an observant Jewish partner, I found this work fascinating as it touched so many of the issues faced by someone pulled between two religions. The work is not theological in tone; rather it looks at the push and pull aspects of Jewish culture for an appre ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a thoughtful, detailed book. As I read it, I kept thinking I should have been enjoying it more than I was. I have been deeply moved by other memoirs about religious conversion, but this one lacked the features that made the other ones speak to me. The author is not rejecting a faith that is a bad fit for her, nor is she embracing a faith that speaks to her soul. (Or if she is, that part wasn't well expressed.) Instead, she is rejoining a tribe, donning a new culture, in solidarity with anc ...more
Rena Graham
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
"We huggle on the couch - hug + cuddle - and try to memorize the Hebrew letters we've been assigned for our latest Jewish Information Class." It was lines like this, and the constant crying - bucket fulls! - that made me want to throw this book across the room at times. I stayed with it as I was interested in the sense of identity she felt with the Jewish faith and how that would play out for her. Well written and chock full of yet more hideous Holocaust stories, this is not a writer I will be f ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Intense emotions and a beautiful journey through depression. Pick takes us through 2 years of her life and her journey to find the faith that speaks to her soul, through her blood. I thought this was going to focus more on religion. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the focus was on her present, on her blood's history, & on finding herself in a faith that is hers. Historical context applies, Holocaust references abound. As someone who has black moods come and go from her life, I appreciate ...more
Christopher Farrell
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
This book really, really resonated with me for some reason - it was like a copy of The Memory Palace that I could actually relate to, and therefore, feel for. Alison's journey is sad and tragic, yet uplifting at the same time - the connections between her past and present are dramatic, yet not overbearing. I loved the relationship she has with her Dad, and how easy they both are with each other. While it didn't really end to my satisfaction, it is still a worthwhile read. ...more
Rosa Laborde
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Intimate. Raw.
Ruby Bibi
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
-Memoir by the author, of her journey from being a Christian to her conversion to Judaism, which was the religion of her paternal grandparents. As a young girl, she was told by a Jewish friend that her father was a Jew. She didn't believe it, but didn't learn the full story of her family history until later on.
-Her paternal grandparents were from Czechoslovakia and experienced the oppression against the Jews in the early years of WWII. They were to leave with her grandmother's parents, but left
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written and engaging memoir about Ms. Pick discovering the truth of her Jewish roots and her spiritual quest to become a Jew. At the heart of the memoir is her family's abandonment of the faith because of the Holocaust and emigration to Canada.
The trials and tribulations of being accepted by the Jewish community is engagingly written. My hesitation about the book is understanding her racial memory that causes her to feel a Jew even though not being brought up or instructed in it at all.
I a
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a painfully beautiful journey!
I truly enjoyed Pick's writing style that helped the story to flow well.
Nicely paced, both looking forward with hope for the future and back to understand and embrace the truth of the past, of her roots. I ached for Alison to come to a deeper knowledge that the God of the Hebrews is also the God of the Christian . . . but sadly her Christian experience had been mostly religious. I rejoice with her finding peace and a deep sense of identity.
Blessings on her and
Elizabeth Beck
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This memoir is beautifully written; Pick knows how to turn a phrase. It takes on an interesting subject, but I found it difficult to read at times. I was caught between admiring Pick's honesty, and being annoyed by her lack of insight. There is a single-mindedness and self-absorption about her that's hard to take. I kept waiting for her to develop empathy toward others, to understand that just because something is so important to her, it doesn't mean that everyone around her should automatically ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A powerful book about one's own struggle with our family's past, future, and our religious beliefs.
I have overly simplified the meaning of this book, but the book is anything but simple, I cried with the author several times, her pain and journey can be felt with each page, and it is a book that stays with you long after it is read. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, well-written memoir of embracing Judaism by the author. The questions posed by her choice to pursue conversion are coherently addressed in the telling of her story. Reads like fiction but rings like truth, her truth. She found it.
Susan Campbell
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Journey Taken

The road to conversion can be long, sometimes painful but ultimately rewarding. It is this journey the author invites us to travel with her. I learned much as I walked with Alison on her path to a new life.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
This memoir was on my Book Club list otherwise I would not have read the book. The author went on and on about her desire to convert to Judaism after she found out that her grandparents were Jews. Three photos were included but not labeled.
Jen Dykxhoorn
This memoir is focused on Alison, a writer living in Toronto with her fiance, who is coming to terms with her family's Jewish history, exploring her roots, and figuring out what it means for her and her identity. It was an ok read, but not amazing. ...more
Lori Bamber
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll be reading more of Alison Pick. ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alison Pick is a phenomenal writer, and she tells her own personal story with beauty and grace.
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WILEN JBF: conversion to Judaism 5 13 Jun 25, 2015 11:37AM  

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ALISON PICK'S best-selling novel FAR TO GO was nominated for the Man Booker Prize and won the Canadian Jewish Book Award. It was a Top 10 Book of 2010 at NOW magazine and the Toronto Star, and was published to international acclaim. Alison was the winner of the 2002 Bronwen Wallace Award for the most promising writer in Canada under 35. Currently on Faculty at the Humber School for Writers and the ...more

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