Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brooklyn Love by Yael Levy

I'm going to review this book a bit differently than I normally do, mostly because I'm disappointed in the other reviews I've read of this book.  Instead of just giving my own thoughts, I want to delve a little deeper and explain them, as well as why I'm disappointed in some of the reviews.  Before I do, I want to state that I only read reviews of a book after I've read it, so that it doesn't color my reading experience at all.

This book is about the stories of 3 young Orthodox Jewish women.  They're all three attempting to find their places in the world, and in relationships.  With family, religious and peer pressures upon them, this is a difficult task.  All three women must decide which direction their lives will go in and how strongly their willing to fight for their own freedoms and choices. 

My disappointment with some of the reviews comes with the fact that several of them completely missed the point.  This book is not about Orthodox Jews.  There is no conversion attempt here.  No religion is being typecast here.  There are several different families that have different versions of what being an Orthodox Jew is.  It's portrayed in several ways.  Every religion has it's own set of suggestions/rules.  Every parent has it's own set of suggestions/rules.  Every peer group has it's own set of suggestions/rules.  There is no attack on Orthodox Jews.  There is no specific love for Orthodox Jews.  They just happen to be the religion of the main characters in the book.  Those who are avoiding this book due to the religious content and what's being said, don't.  Read it for yourself and look past what others are saying.  There's a valuable story here meant for everyone if you're able to do that.

Now that that's off my chest, I'd like to take a look at the actual story.  We have a set of very different friends.  One comes from loving, yet semi-strict parents that are financially secure and moral.  Another comes from a single parent home that is extremely strict and lonely.  Another comes from a loving and sweet home but has issues of her own to deal with.  They have distinct personalities and hopes and dreams.  Not only do they all have different goals, but they have designed different means of achieving them.  Sound familiar? 

These girls are battling the same thing that all young people do.  How does love fit into life?  What do they want as far as a career?  What obstacles will they have to overcome?  Can they remain tight friends and still achieve their goals?

Amid heartbreak, violence, destruction, misunderstanding, criminal activity, and a myriad of other obstructions, these girls give it their all to do the one thing we all strive to do:  survive and be happy.  Some will succeed and some will fail, but they give it all they've got.

This book isn't just about three girls looking for romance.  It's about the daily struggle we all have to find happiness and harmony in our lives.  If you can get past the other reviews and read this with an open heart, you just might find something tangible for your soul contained in this story. 

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