Author: Anouk Markovits
Publish Date: May 8, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You like crisp, un-frilly prose.
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You don't mind doing a bit of research while you're reading.
From Goodreads.com: "Sweeping from the Central European countryside just before World War II to Paris to contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I Am Forbidden brings to life four generations of one Satmar family.
Opening in 1939 Transylvania, five-year-old Josef witnesses the murder of his family by the Romanian Iron Guard and is rescued by a Gentile maid to be raised as her own son. Five years later, Josef rescues a young girl, Mila, after her parents are killed while running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalman Stern, a leader in the Satmar community, in whose home Mila is raised as a sister to Zalman’s daughter, Atara. As the two girls mature, Mila’s faith intensifies, while her beloved sister Atara discovers a world of books and learning that she cannot ignore. With the rise of communism in central Europe, the family moves to Paris, to the Marais, where Zalman tries to raise his children apart from the city in which they live.
When the two girls come of age, Mila marries within the faith, while Atara continues to question fundamentalist doctrine. The different choices the two sisters makes force them apart until a dangerous secret threatens to banish them from the only community they’ve ever known.
A beautifully crafted, emotionally gripping story of what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law, and centuries of tradition collide, I Am Forbidden announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new voice and opens a startling window on a world long closed to most of us, until now."
My Two Cents:
I love when books can take me to some place that I haven't been before. Before this book, I was not familiar with the Satmar sect of Judaism, a very conservative sect that really limits what women in the sect are able to do. Women are supposed to be almost subservient to their husbands at all times. They don't hold a lot of power. It was interesting to get a glimpse of what it must be like to be in that world. It's also very interesting that the author grew up in a sect much like the one Mila finds herself living in later on in the book once she marries Josef. The author obviously left the sect and has been out of the sect for awhile as she would have never been able to have written a book like this one while remaining a part of the sect.
Standing at under 300 pages, this book that covers from WWII to the present day moves very quickly and sometimes too quickly for my own liking. While I do like books that move quickly, I found myself wishing that the author would dwell a little bit longer and explain some things. I found myself having to look up a lot about the Satmar sect as it was totally unfamiliar to me and I didn't want to miss anything in the book. I thought that the author really had three stories here that she could have written a book about each. The first story being about Josef's adoptive mother and his childhood and ultimately being taken in by another Satmar family. The second being about Mila's life in Williamsburg. The third being about Mila's grandchildren. All of these stories could have included enough detail to make really full stories.
Because the book moves so quickly, it's almost as if you are looking through a window at the characters but you don't really get to know what's going on inside of the characters heads. To me, this was both a bonus and a detriment. It's a detriment because I really wanted to know why the characters were thinking what they were thinking. It was a bonus because the writing is so crisp and fresh that the sort of sparseness of detail doesn't really detract and allows the writing to really shine through.
Bottom line: A very interesting historical fiction that covers a lot of ground.
Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:
Monday, May 7th: Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, May 8th: Dolce Bellezza
Wednesday, May 9th: nomadreader
Thursday, May 10th: Life in Review
Friday, May 11th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, May 14th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, May 15th: The Literate Housewife Review
Wednesday, May 16th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 17th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 21st: Raging Bibliomania
Tuesday, May 22nd: Stiletto Storytime
Wednesday, May 23rd: The 3 R’s Blog
Tuesday, May 29th: Luxury Reading
Monday, June 4th: Suko’s Notebook
Date TBD: Melody & Words
Date TBD: She is Too Fond of Books - guest post
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