Friday, June 26, 2009

Book #25: The Ladies Auxiliary

The Ladies Auxiliary (Ballantine Reader's Circle) The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book as part of my book club at the synagogue. It is a story of a widow from New York who upon the death of her husband decided to return to the small Orthodox community in which he was raised — Memphis. To make the story even more complex, she is a convert.

The story is very much a fish out of water story mixed with social commentary. Batsheva, the outsider, is a free spirit, who doesn't exactly follow the rules to the letter of the law. She interprets them in her own way and finds inner meaning in whatever way she can. The women of the community are taken aback by many of her practices. (For example, she continues to use the mikveh even though as a widow the practice is irrelevant.)

My favorite part of the book was not in particular passage or story, but the way it was told. The author used a rare collective first person narrative — the women of the community. This mechanism gave the book an organic feel. You felt like you were watching Batsheva from behind the curtains as well.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book #24: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a great, moving book that kept me enamored till the shocking end. This novel reminded me of one of my all-time favorite books, The Awakening. The message, the writing style, the theme remind me so much of Kate Chopin's greatest work.

This belongs in the small category of "books that aren't predictable."

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book #23: Certain Girls

Certain Girls Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked up this book at the library because I've read most of Jennifer Weiner's books. And as most you know, once I start a list I have a hard time letting go until I conquer it. Little did I know (really! I swear!) that this book was about a mother and daughter struggling through the planning of the latter's bat mitzvah (and other related issues).

This book was OK for me. If I hadn't found the subject matter personally interesting, I would have given it a lower rating.

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