corner corner Unorthodox


by Deborah Feldman | Biographies & Memoirs
Registered by wingTrinibellwing of Calw, Baden-Württemberg Germany on 2/21/2017
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by Trinibell): permanent collection

5 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingTrinibellwing from Calw, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

9 out of 10

The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.

April 2017
While reading this memoir i grew really fond with Deborah and although i knew right from the beginning, that her escape would come true, i bothered and hoped and feared along with her. Especially when she got pressed into this marriage so young , yet kept so utterly unexperienced and unaware, and still full of hope, that i welled up (which is quite rare to me in reading).
But, as i said before, the cutting loose was successful and nowadays Deborah an her child live in Berlin.

There is an interview with Deborah Feldman in English on Deutsche Welle and also a longer in German on BR Mediathek

Journal Entry 2 by wingTrinibellwing at Calw, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Thursday, April 20, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Book ring participants:

1. linguistkris
2. urfin
3. dschinny
4. mimi4711
x. ...

Take your time and finally send the book back to Trinibell.

Journal Entry 3 by wingTrinibellwing at -- Per Post geschickt/ Persönlich weitergegeben --, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Monday, June 12, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 10 mos ago (6/13/2017 UTC) at -- Per Post geschickt/ Persönlich weitergegeben --, Baden-Württemberg Germany


The journey starts now... 

Journal Entry 4 by winglinguistkriswing at Remscheid, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Saturday, June 17, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Safely arrived. Many thanks for hosting this bookring! 

Journal Entry 5 by winglinguistkriswing at Remscheid, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, June 30, 2017

7 out of 10

Unorthodox is a memoir that comes across as both very personal and quite educational, and this mixture kept me very well-entertained. Young Devoiri is such an easy protagonist to root for (what with her love for reading, hiding away forbidden goyish books under her matress), and watching her grow up in the exotic environment of Satmar Williamsburg was quite a page-turner for me. I also loved the cleverly chosen quotations and photographs at the beginning of each chapter, and like probably every German reader got a special kick out of the snippets of Yiddish.

It is only towards the very end that I felt this book fell seriously short: Suddenly there is "free" Deborah, in pointy heels and smoking a cigarette (!! *shock*), but we are told so very, very little about her actual separation process. So she had an accident, and then she just left. Can that really be it? How come Eli let Yitzi go? Where did Deborah find support? Did all her Satmar connections cut her off, or were there some that understood or at least tolerated her decision? What about her mum? What about the other people and experiences that are alluded to in the acknowledgements?

I felt rather cheated by this quick and unsatisfactory ending and decided to knock two stars off my rating for that. (I remember the last book that made me feel like that was Dschungelkind, where the author is suddenly suicidal, then has a pile of children out of nowhere. Wait, what?)
In order for a remarkable personal journey like that to not be mainly about exotism (and a tinge of exploitation even), I feel it would have to really focus on the transition process, on the integrating of the past and present persona of the author. Not only would that help the reader to mentally step outside their own culture and experience it with an outsider's openness, but it is of greatest importance to everybody else who is facing a social transition and needs some inspiration as to how other people in the same situation coped with it. (I think the most enlightening book I read to that effect was Tom Voltz's memoir about leaving Scientology).

Nonetheless, Unorthodox was an engrossing and entertaining read, and I don't regret the week I spent with it. 

Journal Entry 6 by winglinguistkriswing at book ring/ray, by mail -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 9 mos ago (7/11/2017 UTC) at book ring/ray, by mail -- Controlled Releases


Ab die Post nach Berlin! 

Journal Entry 7 by wingUrfinwing at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Friday, July 21, 2017

This book has not been rated.

It's here ! Thanks.
I have watched the BR-interview and am looking forward to this one. 

Journal Entry 8 by wingUrfinwing at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Monday, September 18, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Reading now.
(Finished a SEP novel last night:) a bit of a contrast...

--> Gentile, Goy/Goyim

"It is from children that you have the most nachas, the most pride, Zeidy always says, but also the most pain. Tzaar gidul bunim, the agony that comes with raising children, is the ultimate test of faith, he feels. God gives us children so that we may struggle all our lives to provide for them, protect them, and shape them into devout servants of Hashem." (p.42)
"Zeidy doesn't approve of a chassan and kallah talking on the phone." (p.132) - reminded me of Chanis Hochzeit - there such talking was allowed
"Even when you think things are meaningless, your path has already been mapped for you. You are a very old soul; everything in your life is laden with meaning. Do not ignore the signs." (p.196)

I quite like how she presents her journey as a gradational one and accompanies the chapters with these references to books that helped her find her way:
Matilda by Roald Dahl ✔
The Chosen by Chaim Potok ❑
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by ❑
Pride & Prejudice ✔
Little Women by L.M.Alcott ❑
The Romance Reader by Pearl Abraham ❑
Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery ❑

I agree with what lingiustkris wrote in her above JE regarding the sudden end, the somehow to smooth escape with no mentionable resistance. I can only assume that she maybe cut this short in order to protect third parties involved or that she had some kind of bargaining chip she used to be able to take her son as well. In any case, she since wrote another book about her experience in the goy world, and it's on my wishlist now. 

Journal Entry 9 by wingUrfinwing at Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany on Monday, September 25, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 mos ago (9/25/2017 UTC) at Wolfsburg, Niedersachsen Germany


Posted this morning. To dschinny. 

Journal Entry 10 by wingdschinnywing at Hamburg, Hamburg Germany on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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Heute bei mir angetroffen. Danke sehr!
Muss jetzt in die Warteschleife, da ich gerade ein anderes Buch angefangen habe.  

Journal Entry 11 by wingdschinnywing at Hamburg, Hamburg Germany on Wednesday, November 01, 2017

8 out of 10

I agree with linguistkris. Even though I found it very interesting to get a glimpse of a different world and the author manages to write in a style that captured me, the end was a bit abrupt. The separating process, the involvement of her mother, the (presumed) fight over her child, the, probably, painful start in a "new" world - nothing gets mentioned.

Nevertheless, thanks for letting me take part in the ring and getting an idea of a totally different society and community. And again I find myself confirmed in being suspicious about communities where old men exclusively make the rules and keep women as uneducated and oppressed as possible. Good for Deborah that she managed to fight it.

I have already asked mimi4711 for her address.

2.11.: Sent on its way today. 

Journal Entry 12 by mimi4711 at Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, November 07, 2017

This book has not been rated.

heute angekommen - vielen Dank!
(ich bewundere den BC-Stempel!) 

Journal Entry 13 by mimi4711 at Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, November 17, 2017

9 out of 10

I finished this book today, and it was one of the ones that stop me doing anything else.
I'm too, very interested in how she managed the transition from hasidic housewife to New York writer; who takes care of her son, when she goes travelling as in the last chapter, etc.
I did a bit of research and found that a lot of critics are questioning her honesty - to avoid the confusion as a reader, I liked the idea of reading it as a novel.
It'll be on its way back home as soon as I have the address 

Journal Entry 14 by wingTrinibellwing at Calw, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Sunday, December 17, 2017

This book has not been rated.

Thank you all for participating.

Das Buch durfte eine gute Woche im Auto mit herumfahren, jetzt ist es wieder zuhause im Regal.  

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