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Giving up America
In her "remarkable first novel" (Entertainment Weekly), Pearl Abraham "deftly lift(ed) the opaque curtain from the closed Hasidic world" (New York Times Book Review). Now she tells the poignant story of a marriage cracking and collapsing under the weight of conflicting faiths. Deena's father, a Hasidic scholar, opposes her marriage to the non-Hasidic Daniel based on Kabbal ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Riverhead Trade
(first published 1998)
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This book's description was deceptive, as it promises an in-depth look at Orthodox Jewish life through the eyes of its narrator, Deena. The book follows the daily life of a couple seeking to establish themselves in marriage as well as a home. I think the book's focus was on ethnic Judaism versus religious Jewish life. I found Deena less religious in America in comparison to her husband, Daniel. Her religion becomes running, if anything. As the couple attempts to achieve the American Dream, throu ...more
I read this before I joined Goodreads and I read it a few times because I own the book. What I have to say about this is that Pearl Abraham is a fine writer, but this story is like a aimless wandering for me. The main character just seemed to let things happen in her life and in her marriage. She just didnt seem to care about where things were going for her. Maybe that's the gist of the character, but sometimes it was aggravating, like I wanted to shout at her and say *Do something already!".
A bit aimless, as others have said. I wanted to shake Deena and Daniel. There was not much Jewishness in it at all, which might have made it more interesting. Discussions of watching paint dry are as interesting as they sound. I can hear renovation stories from friends and family, I don't need to read about them. It was readable, in an unexciting way. If what you want is meandering introspection, go for it.
i didn't appreciate that there didn't seem to be any definites in the plot- couldn't tell when the conflict started and ended and i didn't see any growth in any of the characters...one could argue that this makes the book realistic since this is how life is, which may be true, but it didn't make for an enjoyable read.
Pearl Abraham is the author of the novels The Romance Reader and Giving Up America, and the editor of the Dutch anthology Een Sterke Vrouw: Jewish Heroines in Literature. Her work has appeared in Brooklyn Noir, The Michigan Quarterly, Religion in America, Dog Culture: Writers on the Character of Canines, and Forward.