Top critical review
on January 29, 2004
Ayelet Waldman certainly seems to hold promise as a writer, but first she must learn to check her facts. The entire plot of this book is based on the most ridiculous stereotypes and misconceptions about the Hasidic Jewish community. As someone raised without much Jewish knowledge at all, then adopted an Orthodox Hasidic life as an adult, I feel I can and must caution readers. While the questions and concerns voiced by the book's protaganist, Juliet, are thoughtful and valid, Waldman's answers sadly are not. Among these: That Hasidic women are forced to marry. That a girl's thoughts and feelings are, as a rule, not taked into account. That men "rule" and women merely "comply". That Freydel's father, an important leader, would DARE to treat someone like Juliet with such arrogance, distrust and hostility as described here, and get away with it! The list goes on.... PLEASE do not use this book as an insight into Hasidic Jewish life. A wonderful academic (and readable) book has just been published and is respected very much by "both sides"--Hasidic people and others: Mystics, Mavericks, and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey Among Hasidic Girls by Stephanie Wellen Levine, Carol Gilligan (Hardcover - November 2003). Your money (and curiosity!) would be better spent here.