Evanston Public Library's Reviews > Good for the Jews

Good for the Jews by Debra Spark
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's review
May 28, 2011

bookshelves: fiction

This modern-day re-telling of the biblical Book of Esther, set in Madison, Wisconsin, is a third offering by novelist Spark. Wry humor, a smoothly developed plot and vividly drawn characters, are put to good use to tell a profound and troubling story about anti-semitism as it is practiced in contemporary America, and how it can sometimes be so subtle and cloaked as to be almost unnoticed.

In the Book of Esther, Ahasuerus, king of ancient Persia, is displeased with his wife Vashti, and seeks a new wife from the beauties of the land. Mordecai, uncle to the comely and biddable Esther, a Jewess, brings her to court to vie for the king's hand. The king is smitten, and Esther becomes his queen. The king's right-hand man, Haman, an anti-semite of the first order, meanwhile, is plotting to eradicate the Jews from Persia with a mass pogrom. Esther, of course, intercedes and saves the day, and Haman ends up swinging from a noose. The Jews are saved and celebrate big time with a holiday called Purim when everyone dresses up in costume and lots of goodies are eaten. If one is under the age of 12 or so, the story ends here on a "happily ever after" note.
Barbara L. (Reader's Services)

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