Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review: Brooklyn Love

By Tracey Meyers

Every parent has a dream for their child.  I firmly believe this to be a fact even though I don't have any concrete evidence to back the statement up.

With this in mind, not every child shares their parent's dream for their life.  Sometimes their passions, aspirations and what they believe will truly make them happiest in life lie elsewhere.  Sometimes it is difficult to not follow the path your parents want (or expect) you to take.  When this is the case,  you may find yourself walking a tightrope; trying to choose which is more important.  This becomes especially difficult when matters of the heart are involved.

This delicate balance between what our parents want for us and what we want for our life is the central theme of the novel, Brooklyn Love by Yael Levy.  The story follows three Orthodox Jewish girls - Rachel, Leah and Hindy - as they navigate the often choppy waters of dating and growing up.  While they try to stay true to the values and beliefs they were taught by their parents and community and fulfill the dreams their parents have for them they also struggle with wanting to find their own individuality and create the path in which they envision their life traveling. 

Personally, I am not a stranger to this struggle.  I have not always followed the path that those closest to me felt I should have taken, however in my heart I knew it was a road I needed to travel.  That is one of the things that drew me to this story.  The other things that drew me to this story was that it was told through the eyes of three Orthodox Jewish girl - excuse me, women.  Though I'm not Orthodox, I am Jewish and have friends who are Orthodox.  I thought it would be interesting to see how this background would add to the characters and how the author would incorporate Orthodox practices into the plot.

It didn't take me long to get drawn in to the dilemma of these three women.  Maybe part of that had to do with my own personal connection to the story line and background of the characters; however, I like to believe that there is more to it than just that.  The three main characters of this book are very likable and have special and unique qualities that make their stories interesting.

Another theme that become apparent from the start is the question of how important is passion for something, or someone, when it comes to leading a fulfilling life?  It's a question I've discussed with my friends regarding the many facets of life.

Yael did an excellent job of explaining various Orthodox traditions without overwhelming the reader with mass quantities of detail that might frustrate them or make them want to put the book down.

Most importantly, I found myself taking a vested interest in these characters' well being, as if they were my own personal  friends.  Hopefully, one day they will be your own personal friends, too!

Thanks to F+W Media for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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