Thursday, May 15, 2014

Memoir: Exodus by Deborah Feldman

Publisher: Blue Rider
Date: March 25, 2014
Format: hardback
Source: GoodReads First Look
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 280
Reading time: three days

From GoodReads: Deborah Feldman, author of the explosive New York Times– bestselling memoir Unorthodox, returns with an extraordinary follow-up that traces her new life as an independent young woman and single mother, and her search for an authentic and personal Jewish identity.

My review: I didn't find Exodus quite as interesting as I remember Feldman's first memoir, Unorthodox. But then, I read Feldman's first book mostly to learn more about the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and with this book she's mostly exploring her personal journey after leaving the Satmar sect. Still, it's beautifully written and an engrossing read. There's Feldman's introspection, of course, as she negotiates her identity and lifestyle after leaving the insular community in which she grew up, but we also learn a lot more about her family's background during the Holocaust as well as gain troubling glimpses of how Jewish community, identity, and memory remain (or don't) in contemporary Europe.

Pretty much my only real issue with the book was its lack of organization. The content seems to be a mishmash of Feldman's experiences, mostly after she left the community but some connected back to her childhood as well. Her narrative moves non-linearly, and it just wasn't very clear where exactly she was going with this book. However, as with her first memoir, I admire her openness with personal details and willingness to share her life.

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