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The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. She married a man from within the fold and quickly began a family. But over the years, her doubts became noisier than her faith, and at age forty she could no longer breathe in what had become a suffocating existence. Even though it would mean the loss of her friends, her community, and possibly even her family, Tova decides to leave her husband and her faith. After years of trying to silence the voice inside her that said she did not agree, did not fit in, did not believe, she strikes out on her own to discover what she does believe and who she really is. This will mean forging a new way of life not just for herself, but for her children, who are struggling with what the divorce and her new status as “not Orthodox” mean for them.   This is a memoir about what it means to decide to heed your inner compass at long last. To free the part of yourself that has been suppressed, even if it means walking away from the only life you’ve ever known. Honest and courageous, Tova takes us through her first year outside her marriage and community as she learns to silence her fears and seek adventure on her own path to happiness.


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The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. She married a man from within the fold and quickly began a family. But over the years, her doubts became noisier than her faith, and at age forty she could no longer breathe in what had become a suffocating existence. Even though it would mean the loss of her friends, her community, and possibly even her family, Tova decides to leave her husband and her faith. After years of trying to silence the voice inside her that said she did not agree, did not fit in, did not believe, she strikes out on her own to discover what she does believe and who she really is. This will mean forging a new way of life not just for herself, but for her children, who are struggling with what the divorce and her new status as “not Orthodox” mean for them.   This is a memoir about what it means to decide to heed your inner compass at long last. To free the part of yourself that has been suppressed, even if it means walking away from the only life you’ve ever known. Honest and courageous, Tova takes us through her first year outside her marriage and community as she learns to silence her fears and seek adventure on her own path to happiness.

30 review for The Book of Separation: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women -Hasidic women - belong to sectarian communities, worshipping and working as followers of specific rebbes-they are set apart from assimilated, mainstream Jews. Here in America....In 2017....this is a lifestyle choice that many men and women follow. Hasidism -( a word Tova Mirvis doesn’t use in her memoir yet is the Hebrew word for Ultra-Orthodox Judaism)......or Orthodoxy....is a radical movement of Judaism which reaches back as far as the 18th century. The emphasis is Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women -Hasidic women - belong to sectarian communities, worshipping and working as followers of specific rebbes-they are set apart from assimilated, mainstream Jews. Here in America....In 2017....this is a lifestyle choice that many men and women follow. Hasidism -( a word Tova Mirvis doesn’t use in her memoir yet is the Hebrew word for Ultra-Orthodox Judaism)......or Orthodoxy....is a radical movement of Judaism which reaches back as far as the 18th century. The emphasis is on religious education for boys... yet for women and girls, the expectations for women are ‘still’ different. There have been changes through the years — yet there are male and female differences even today. In the early years women were not expected to move past basic literacy. Only in the 20th century, when it became clear young Hasidic women were hungry to pursue advance education- did we begin to see respected female ultra Orthodox Jewish Scholars—which incidentally paralleled feminist movements. Tova Mirvis was raised - from childhood in an Ultra-Orthodox Family. She ‘was’ educated - attended Columbia College University and received an MFA in fiction writing. She lived in Canada for awhile — but has been living in the United States for many years ( more years than I realized: her entire marriage of 17 years to Aaron as an Hasidic married woman) Today Tova — no longer practices the observances of Orthodoxy. THIS BOOK IS TOVA’S STORY. I found it ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING- DISCUSSION FASCINATING!! SO NOW I’m going to SHARE..... my little book report ... ha! (may the Bone God’s forgive me and do their density building in spite of me sitting too much and not keeping my retirement word from writing long reviews).... but I can’t stop thinking about this book yet .... so I’m writing this for my need of completion! Here is what is UNUSUAL—� Yet.... not the first time I’ve seen a late bloomer speak out. Usually by the time most of us are young adults - in our 20’s - we know if we are Gay or Straight - we know if we have a strong religious belief or not —� ( ok not always) - but gut red flags begin to speak to a person if something is not right - which they did for Tova before she married Aaron. She married young - in her 20’s - had not dated Aaron very long - and had little experience with dating period. But she and Aaron were fighting before the wedding about ‘value differences’ .... the signs were there. My husband and I knew a couple years ago that was married for 15 years with 3 kids. Then one day - the woman says, “I can’t be married any longer, I’m Gay”. The woman says - she always knew. The signs were there. Tova, 40 years old, was married for 17 years — also with 3 children: Noam 11.....Josh 7.....Layla 3. It took those 17 years to be clear about the divorce. Why does it take so many years for a person to allow themselves to live a life that’s most honest with who they are? What stops us from listening to our inner voice of truth? Why do we feel a strong pull to live a life filled with expectations and should’s? Why do we assign ourselves obligations.....even silly things ... none of which place ourselves as #1. These were all questions I thought about when reading Tova’s memoir. I don’t share the same specific issues that Tova went through....(I adore my marriage to Paul of almost 39 years)... I’m kinda a relaxed Jew too....follow few rules - and love our reform synagogue with a female Rabbi and female Cantor. “ Shir Hadash” - ( which means New Song)...where I attend ... is a happy thriving bustling place - lots of music - social action groups - freedom of thought. .......BUT.... I never once felt Tova was alone. I know what it feels like to doubt my inner voice - I know about choosing what I think I should do even if suppressed. TOVA didn’t hear her inner voice strong enough when she got married. She loved her husband Aaron in the beginning - but fought often with him. She followed the rules of what she felt was expected of her. She stayed married doing what was expected of her for those 17 years with inner conflict going on. Getting a divorce when you are a FEMALE ORTHODOX JEW, initiating it, is complicated. It would be much easier if the man initiated it. Tova had to be “released” ....from the house of her husband by the Rabbi. —�Ancient words - but for Tova - the freedom they promised seemed radical. ‘Some’ of the rules Tova had to observe as an Ultra-Orthodox Jew....( she didn’t need to believe in them - but she did need to observe them)....were as followed: .....As a Jewish wife - she was the backbone of the Jewish home. She would cook, bake, and raise the kids with great love. .....Her clothing was to be modest.... usually skirts - no pants - ( although she sometimes did) - and must cover her hair ( in the synagogue she always did... but broke the rule other times). .....During services the men and women sat on different sides — separated by the mechitzah (a partition). .....Even the two children ages Noam and Nosh we’re expected to sit for five hours long during Rosh Hashanah services. The younger child Layla went into the children’s nursery. I laughed ...because Tova did as women do while sitting in services all day.....I include myself. Instead of focusing on praying, and reciting prayers, she surveyed the dresses of those around her and especially the outlandish ones. ANOTHER RULE: .....One of the Jewish Laws that Tova followed throughout her marriage was The Mikeh. Tova would go to the Mikeh (purified bath water) - for ritual purity AND each month after menstruation or after childbirth in order to become ritually pure and permitted to resume sexual activity. In the United States most Jewish women have not observed the laws menstrual purity any longer — but as an ultra-Orthodox Jew ... Tova did. There are many other rules about meals - keeping Kosher - Shabbat - changing of dish racks - holiday’s - ( large and small), reciting blessings, etc. Tovah did a beautiful job sharing about many of the rituals - some of them she enjoyed - not everything was bleak. Building a Sukkah (a temporary hut that is half shelter that is half exposed) was fun to build and decorate with her children - then eat a meal in the Sukkah after making it. Towards the end of Tova’s marriage, she began compartmentalizing what she would observe and what she wouldn’t. She would keep kosher, observe Shabbat, go to the Mikvah..... but she no longer would study Jewish texts. She also stopped praying every morning, and would not go to the synagogue every week. Once Tova got a divorce— even the year before — things became very confusing for the children. Religious differences become very challenging to navigate the children especially when increasingly estranged. Little Layla would ask things like “is tonight going to be a mommy Shabbat?” Josh her youngest son- was already sick of being Jewish even before the divorce and wanted to eat pizza and play basketball on Friday nights. Noam wore his yarmulke on his head everywhere he went and felt strong about continuing his religious observances. What scared Tova was how religion might possibly divide she and her son. There have been stories about children who would not eat in their parents house any longer. I thought it was beautiful the way Tova was handling the open flow of communication- free speech - respect - listening - and supporting each other’s needs without giving up thyself. Tova would support Noam- and keep a Kosher kitchen — he could feel safe to eat in her home. When Tova did not have the children - she didn’t need to observe Shabbat if she didn’t want to. She could go anywhere - do what she wanted. AT LEAST TOVA NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN: THERE HAVE BEEN CASES WHERE WOMEN IN AN ULTRA-ORTHODOX ENCLAVE HAVE LOST COSTODY OF HER KIDS. THE CHILDREN ARE PURPOSELY ALIENATED FROM THE PARENT WHO NO LONGER IS RELIGIOUS. —� Community members hire lawyers on behalf of the still orthodox spouse, claiming they are merely acting in the best interest of the kids. When reading this book - there was no question for me how incredibly courageous I thought Tova was. There were so many things she said — so many STEPS ALONG THE WAY POINTING TO *JUST HOW HARD LEAVING WAS. Given her situation- she did the VERY BEST SHE COULD. “Others might have illusion that you could run free, but born to this, you always knew where the electrified boundary lay”. “ in all my years fantasizing about leaving, I hadn’t understood that you could remain stuck inside. You can partake in the pleasures, but you might never enjoy them”. As long as this review is..... I *DIDN’T* GIVE MAJOR SPOILERS AWAY. I didn’t share WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE DIVORCE... And how people in her Orthodoxy community responded to her once they knew about the divorce. I’ll end with an e.e. cummings quote which I love and reminds me of Tova “To be nobody-but yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    The entire time I was reading The Book of Separation, one particular question kept haunting me. Not a particularly nice or charitable question, admittedly, but it haunted me nonetheless. Specifically, If a person spends her teens, 20s, and 30s living in a restrictive culture and does her best to conform to that restricted culture, at what point has she forfeited her opportunity to become an interesting, mature, grown-up person? Well, I told you it was a rather uncharitable question. I don't know The entire time I was reading The Book of Separation, one particular question kept haunting me. Not a particularly nice or charitable question, admittedly, but it haunted me nonetheless. Specifically, If a person spends her teens, 20s, and 30s living in a restrictive culture and does her best to conform to that restricted culture, at what point has she forfeited her opportunity to become an interesting, mature, grown-up person? Well, I told you it was a rather uncharitable question. I don't know if the author is hiding a lot in this memoir for the sake of not embarrassing her family or if she just isn't that good at expressing what's really going on with her, but the end result is repetitive to the point of tedium. Yes, Tova Mirvis, I get it, you're in a conservative culture. Yes, I get that your husband is a true believer. Yes, I get that you are not. But you stayed in it all that time! In the years when most people are attempting to figure out who they are, you outsourced the job to your orthodox community. Apparently every time you argued with your husband, you yelled "I'm done!" and then didn't leave. At a certain point you were a grown woman and you still did this. When you finally decided to "rebel," it took the form of hiding in the bathroom during Shabbat and checking Facebook on your phone. You were around 40 years old at the time. What am I supposed to be getting from all this? I understand that breaking free from a restrictive culture isn't easy. I understand that it's not always about grand gestures but about a gradual pulling away. I understand that this doesn't always result in the most dramatic narrative, but that doesn't mean it's not worth telling, and the fact that we've heard these stories many times before doesn't mean they aren't still useful. I'm willing to concede all of that. But what particularly struck me about The Book of Separation is how little joy, how little true freedom, really comes across in this particular telling. Tova Mirvis mentions an idea she's heard before, something about how Orthodox Judaism can't prevent you from doing certain things, but it can definitely prevent you from enjoying them, and that's certainly the case here. Mirvis's guilt over her decisions suffuses the entire book. Even after she leaves the Orthodox faith, she seems unable to take pleasure in anything. Anything, that is, except for (nonkosher) pizza. She seems to pour all of her happiness and excitement at no longer being Orthodox into her enjoyment of pizza, and the narrative comes alive in a way it rarely does elsewhere. And again, I'm sure this is useful to some people, probably those who have also left a restrictive religious culture and also feel extremely guilty about it. But do those people really want or need to hear that their guilt will persist in following them everywhere, preventing them from truly enjoying their newfound freedom (except possibly when it comes to pizza)? What can we really learn from a woman who didn't leave her repressive culture until she was middle-aged, except that it's probably a better idea to leave when you're much younger? Honestly, no judgment on the author herself, who I'm going to assume is actually a reasonably interesting and mature person, and who I certainly hope is, by now, less weighed down by guilt than she was when she wrote this book. But there's the life you're actually living, and there's the life you're able to get across in your writing, and the life depicted in The Book of Separation is so dreary I could never recommend it to anyone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Tova Mirvis broke from Orthodox Judaism at the same time that she divorced her husband, but her strict faith and her marriage had both been dissolving for a long time. Every time she chafed against wearing a hairpiece and a hat to synagogue, every time she resented having to check that all was prepared so she wouldn’t have to so much as turn on a light on the Sabbath, she drifted a little further from the religion that had previously given her so much of her personal and familial identity. “Doub Tova Mirvis broke from Orthodox Judaism at the same time that she divorced her husband, but her strict faith and her marriage had both been dissolving for a long time. Every time she chafed against wearing a hairpiece and a hat to synagogue, every time she resented having to check that all was prepared so she wouldn’t have to so much as turn on a light on the Sabbath, she drifted a little further from the religion that had previously given her so much of her personal and familial identity. “Doubt quietly, but don’t talk about it, don’t act on it,” she’d always told herself. In this graceful and painfully honest memoir, Mirvis goes back and forth in time to contrast the simplicity – but discontentment – of her early years of marriage with the disorientation she felt after leaving Orthodoxy behind as she renegotiated her family relationships and eventually found a new partner. The difference was particularly stark on Jewish holidays, which she still celebrated in a desultory way, mostly to keep things constant for her three children. “Every transgression feels like a first, each one new and destablizing.” I think any one who has ever wrestled with faith or with other people’s expectations will appreciate this story of finding the courage to be true to yourself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Hart-Green

    This is a beautifully written book about an exceedingly sad topic: the dissolution of a marriage and the loss of religious faith. I should point out, however, that the author does not indulge in gratuitous criticism of either her ex-husband or her religion (to which she still adheres in a new way.) This book might be a difficult read for those who are religious, but I actually think it would be a great catalyst for discussion for all those of religious faith.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Booksandchinooks (Laurie)

    When I first heard about this book I contacted the author about receiving an ARC for review, which she kindly sent. All opinions are my own. I always find it fascinating to learn about other people's religion and belief systems and I love books about family so the premise of this book intrigued me. This book is a memoir written by Tova Mirvis. Tova was raised in the Orthodox Jewish faith. I didn't know too much about this faith before this book, but was interested in learning more about it. This When I first heard about this book I contacted the author about receiving an ARC for review, which she kindly sent. All opinions are my own. I always find it fascinating to learn about other people's religion and belief systems and I love books about family so the premise of this book intrigued me. This book is a memoir written by Tova Mirvis. Tova was raised in the Orthodox Jewish faith. I didn't know too much about this faith before this book, but was interested in learning more about it. This is not a religion where you go to church on Sunday and you have done your part. This is a very intense religion and you live your life completely within it. I wasn't aware of this but quite often you actually also live in close proximity of each other. There are many celebrations and rituals that are maintained on a daily basis. As Tova reached her 20's she started to question some of her beliefs. She becomes engaged and marries young as even more doubts start to creep in. Her husband was, of course raised within the same religion which he fully embraces. They go on to have three children and Tova's doubts start to impact her marriage. As she struggles to decide what she really believes and how she wants to live her life she comes to the conclusion she needs to leave the faith that has embodied her whole life and to leave her marriage. It is always heart wrenching in a divorce for everyone involved because all roles change. She now only gets to see her children half the time and also, how does she now raise them. They have grown up in the faith that she no longer believes in or observes. I found this very interesting because of the complexities here. This book is very well written and the author really bares her soul.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eliana

    I appreciated her message but it felt a bit repetitive.

  7. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    Having read a few other books about women leaving Orthodox Judaism, I knew I would breeze through this one, since I find the topic so interesting. The fact Tova Mirvis also appeared to be emotionally intelligent, unlike another author or two, also convinced me I was on my way through her story at top-notch speed. Things don’t always happen as predicted, though, and about one-fourth of the way through her memoir I realized something--I was bored. What other books did I have to read? Maybe I could Having read a few other books about women leaving Orthodox Judaism, I knew I would breeze through this one, since I find the topic so interesting. The fact Tova Mirvis also appeared to be emotionally intelligent, unlike another author or two, also convinced me I was on my way through her story at top-notch speed. Things don’t always happen as predicted, though, and about one-fourth of the way through her memoir I realized something--I was bored. What other books did I have to read? Maybe I could come back to this book later, or read it in an alternating fashion with another book. What was wrong? Ms. Mirvis’ story just started seeming tedious. Was she going to continue going on and on about all the little things she was worried about until the end of the book? Of course, since Orthodox Judaism is concerned about so many “little” things in life, one could not blame the author for dwelling on so many “little” things; but still not all readers are going to be, nor should they be, understanding about tediousness. It was too much like having to read every little thought in an author’s head, not a good thing for either nonfiction or fiction books. Then, however, the story seemed to start gaining momentum. For me, it was when Ms. Mirvis started talking about her engagement and getting married. Moreover, later on in the story, when she actually stood up to a group of rabbis and told them how she so disliked having to worry about everything she wrote, and so disliked having to worry about being judged all the time about everything, the memoir became a totally worthwhile read in my eyes. Hence, the memoir gets five stars, even though parts of it were truly tedious. For ultimately, it was truly interesting to see how the author gave up obedience to father figures, as she had been taught as a child, and tried to navigate a world where those father figures no longer controlled or influenced everything in her life or in her mind. Nothing whatsoever against father figures, mind you, but if you don’t ever truly start thinking for yourself, do you ever truly emotionally grow up? Kudos to Tova Morvis for having the courage to change her life to how she felt she should live her life; and for doing so without throwing Orthodox Judaism under the bus. Furthermore, kudos to her relatives, friends, acquaintances and all others in the Orthodox Jewish community who did not treat her like a persona non grata, when she decided she could no longer live in their world, but could only visit. (Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. Two and a half stars. Tirvis' story of leaving her religious community and her marriage is, at heart, a compelling one, and I found myself drawn into the complexities of her life in the initial chapters of the book. As the book progressed, though, there seemed to be a lack of cohesion and organization that resulted in me losing interest in her story. At times, she begins sharing a memory, segues into another story, and then abruptly shifts I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. Two and a half stars. Tirvis' story of leaving her religious community and her marriage is, at heart, a compelling one, and I found myself drawn into the complexities of her life in the initial chapters of the book. As the book progressed, though, there seemed to be a lack of cohesion and organization that resulted in me losing interest in her story. At times, she begins sharing a memory, segues into another story, and then abruptly shifts back to her original train of thought. I was often left flipping pages to remind myself what her original train of thought had been. There is a stream of consciousness approach to the memoir that I didn't connect with. Readers hoping to relate to her marital issues may also be disappointed that she never shares anything of depth beyond their differing religious viewpoints; most marital issues aren't explored but shared in the vaguest of terms (i.e. that they fought a lot, that they "wanted different things.") The book summary also implies a sacrifice of family and friends, but other than some rude acquaintances who shun her upon her leaving their Orthodox community, she seems to leave with overall great support in her life (happily for Tirvis, but the book description does not feel like an apt one). There are also too many metaphors for Tirvis' growing independence - while they were charming at first, I grew tired of reading stories of her driving, going out alone, biking, or hiking as metaphors for her life in general. Still, there is an inspiring story at the heart of this book, though I wish the book had been edited and organized in a way to better deliver this story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Rarely do I encounter a memoir that I earmark to re-read again in the future, yet The Book of Separation is that one. With beautiful prose that long-time fans will recognize from her fictional works, Mirvis unravels the threads of her marriage and her faith. It's a story of losing one's religion in order to be free, but it's also a story of Mirvis leaving her marriage to live more truthfully. What I loved about this book is that it does not rely on saccharine language or self-deprecation in her s Rarely do I encounter a memoir that I earmark to re-read again in the future, yet The Book of Separation is that one. With beautiful prose that long-time fans will recognize from her fictional works, Mirvis unravels the threads of her marriage and her faith. It's a story of losing one's religion in order to be free, but it's also a story of Mirvis leaving her marriage to live more truthfully. What I loved about this book is that it does not rely on saccharine language or self-deprecation in her self-discovery. Her concerns seem real and tangible, even for those of us in young marriages or happy ones. There are revelations that any of us can recognize in ourselves. I received a galley of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley to read and review. This has not impacted my thoughts or opinions about this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    3.5 stars rounded up. This is an interesting book about a woman who feels the need to leave her marriage and her religion in order to be true to her essential self. Tova Mirvis grew up as a member of the Modern Orthodoxy denomination of Judaism. Although strict in many of its observances of Jewish law and the holidays, it is not quite as strict as Chasidic Judaism. Even so, Tova chafed at many of the restrictions and observances: the need to cover her hair as a married woman; the strict rules of 3.5 stars rounded up. This is an interesting book about a woman who feels the need to leave her marriage and her religion in order to be true to her essential self. Tova Mirvis grew up as a member of the Modern Orthodoxy denomination of Judaism. Although strict in many of its observances of Jewish law and the holidays, it is not quite as strict as Chasidic Judaism. Even so, Tova chafed at many of the restrictions and observances: the need to cover her hair as a married woman; the strict rules of Shabbos; the modest dress required of women; the rules of the Mikvah, etc. She married young, to a young man she did not know well, and they fought even from the beginning. She thought that once they were married, the arguments would stop, but they didn’t. She never does say what they constantly argued about. It is implied that it was about her needing more autonomy, and him wanting her to remain observant, but there had to be more to it than this, because it went on all throughout their 17 year marriage. It seemed that he could not accept her for who she was and she could not accept herself for who he wanted her to be. It would have been nice if she had said this. It would have saved her a lot of repetitive writing in the book. Eventually, she has had enough, and asks for a divorce. For her it was not just a divorce from her husband, but a divorce from the insular Orthodox community, which is all she has ever known. She feels that she has lost her religion, because the Modern Orthodoxy is all she has ever known in terms of Judaism. From my point of view, as a lapsed Reform Jew who picks and chooses what she wants to observe, she could have explored other branches of Judaism to see if there was a better fit for her, thereby not feeling like she had lost her religion entirely. I understand that the Orthodox don’t really recognize the other branches of Judaism as being real Judaism, but it’s better than nothing. Or maybe she had just had enough of any organized religion and didn’t want to start fresh anywhere else. For me, it would have been nice if she had explored these options instead of whining about being shunned and not knowing what to do. Another reviewer remarked that she didn’t seem to find any joy in her new, hard fought status. I agree. She notes that she eventually remarried. I hope that she is finally happy in her new life and with herself. I will say that the book is well written, although at times it is repetitive regarding events. She also writes events out of order, which sometimes makes it hard to figure out where you are in her life’s timeline. She does clarify that this is only her point of view of the divorce, and others may see it differently. With the above mentioned caveats, and the ones noted in the body of the review, I think that this book was well done. It is an interesting take on what it takes to leave a marriage and a lifestyle. Since I have enjoyed her fictional books, I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elka

    Having read Mirvis' fiction, I was not surprised to find this book fairly well written. But if you're going to write a memoir, a little introspection is in order. At some point, perhaps after reading "I want to be free" for the billionth time, I would have liked to know, free from what? To do what? Now that she's eaten nonkosher pizza, is life going to be perfect? Having read Mirvis' fiction, I was not surprised to find this book fairly well written. But if you're going to write a memoir, a little introspection is in order. At some point, perhaps after reading "I want to be free" for the billionth time, I would have liked to know, free from what? To do what? Now that she's eaten nonkosher pizza, is life going to be perfect?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Tova Mirvis lived most of her life as an Orthodox Jew. She kept the traditions and the dutiful life that a woman of this faith lives but she feels like she doesn't really belong. One day she decides to divorce her husband and begin her life anew. This is her story. I learned a great deal about Orthodox Judaism from reading this memoir. The author is a very good writer and uses good language and imagery. My complaint about this book was that it felt like it took me a very very very long time to r Tova Mirvis lived most of her life as an Orthodox Jew. She kept the traditions and the dutiful life that a woman of this faith lives but she feels like she doesn't really belong. One day she decides to divorce her husband and begin her life anew. This is her story. I learned a great deal about Orthodox Judaism from reading this memoir. The author is a very good writer and uses good language and imagery. My complaint about this book was that it felt like it took me a very very very long time to read it and that I had made no progress. After finishing it, I appreciate the author's story, but I wish it hadn't felt so draggy at times.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joey Gremillion

    Superb!! Many people who leave Orthodox Judaism, particularly Hasidism, write about their experiences with bitterness and leave out any joy or happiness that they might have experienced in their lives. Is it possible to have ZERO positive life experiences? I think not. Tova Mirvis writes frankly about leaving Orthodoxy without badmouthing her old life. I am a HUGGGGEEE fan, now. Kudos. I HIGHLY recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer S. Brown

    Beautifully written memoir of Mirvis's experience grappling with her religious beliefs and with the strictures of the Orthodox Jewish community. Beautifully written memoir of Mirvis's experience grappling with her religious beliefs and with the strictures of the Orthodox Jewish community.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Farrah

    Very fascinating. Crazy interesting parallels between Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Nicole

    This book was AMAZING! I’ve wanted to learn about Orthodox Judaism for a while and this was definitely the best way to. The author explains the religion and also provides her criticism of her previous religion and how it didn’t mix with her personality and her beliefs. The book is back and forth in time but its amazing and SO EDUCATIONAL! There’s no doubt about how brave she is for making such drastic changes in her life where she knew she’d upend her entire life and she not only did it anyway, This book was AMAZING! I’ve wanted to learn about Orthodox Judaism for a while and this was definitely the best way to. The author explains the religion and also provides her criticism of her previous religion and how it didn’t mix with her personality and her beliefs. The book is back and forth in time but its amazing and SO EDUCATIONAL! There’s no doubt about how brave she is for making such drastic changes in her life where she knew she’d upend her entire life and she not only did it anyway, she blossomed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Naama

    I had heard about this book from more than one friend and I judged it based on second-hand information. I’m glad I read it – it’s a much better way of forming an opinion. First of all, I thought it was well written: the thoughts were clear, the sentences were strong, the similes and metaphors appeared in just the right doses. This was striking to me because if not for the writing, this book could’ve been trite; As a middle-aged member of the modern Orthodox community, I’ve seen enough family, fri I had heard about this book from more than one friend and I judged it based on second-hand information. I’m glad I read it – it’s a much better way of forming an opinion. First of all, I thought it was well written: the thoughts were clear, the sentences were strong, the similes and metaphors appeared in just the right doses. This was striking to me because if not for the writing, this book could’ve been trite; As a middle-aged member of the modern Orthodox community, I’ve seen enough family, friends, and acquaintances leave – to different extents and in different ways – to find anything Mirvis wrote shocking or refreshing (plus so much has already been written and said about the great, inevitable mid-life crisis). And yet, I inhaled her book. I can’t dismiss Mirvis’ feelings nor can I really relate to them. I think everyone’s shackled by societal norms, and at least to some extent Mirvis traded in one type of shackle for another. Ah, but one person’s devastation is another’s liberation, one person is stifled by what another finds anchoring: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and faith is in the heart of the believer. Even before I read it, I compared this book and its author to If All the Seas were Ink, another book I read and greatly enjoyed earlier this year. While the two book are still in dialogue in my mind, the stronger comparison in my mind is now between Mirvis and one of the characters in a different book I read this year. And I thought a lot about this punchline of a paragraph, written about that other character, in relation to Mirvis’ story: “In the story of the blind men and the elephant, what’s usually ignored is the fact that each man’s description was correct. What …. won’t understand and may never understand is that there is not one true self hidden by many false ones. Rather, there is one true self hidden by many other true ones. Yes, she is the meek and shy and industrious student. Yes, she is the panicky and frightened child. Yes, she is the bold and impulsive seductress. Yes, she is the wife, the mother. And many other things as well. Her belief that only one of these is true obscures the larger truth, which was ultimately the problem with the blind men and the elephant. It wasn’t that they were blind—it’s that they stopped too quickly, and so never knew there was a larger truth to grasp.”

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    2.5 stars This book is really difficult for me to rate. Memoirs and autobiographies are so personal that it feels unkind to throw harsh judgments at the author. I guess that is one of my biggest gripes with this book; the author feels like she left out huge chunks of what was going on in her life and what she was feeling making it way less personal. I absolutely understand that the reasons she did not go in depth were to protect her ex-husband, children, and community members, but it left me feel 2.5 stars This book is really difficult for me to rate. Memoirs and autobiographies are so personal that it feels unkind to throw harsh judgments at the author. I guess that is one of my biggest gripes with this book; the author feels like she left out huge chunks of what was going on in her life and what she was feeling making it way less personal. I absolutely understand that the reasons she did not go in depth were to protect her ex-husband, children, and community members, but it left me feeling like she was holding back. Other times I felt like she droned on endlessly with a stream of consciousness writing style that just simply made the book way too long. There were some bright moments in the book that made it worth reading. I also really enjoyed learning more about growing up and being a part of the Orthodox Jewish Tradition. My lower rating may have more to do with me than the quality of the book. At this point in my life, I'm more interested in stories where people have decided to stay in their chosen faith and grapple with ambiguity and dissonance as opposed to those who have decided to leave. The author seemed immature and whiny at times, and that left a bad taste in my mouth. Speaking of taste I have to agree with a lot of other reviewers that she seemed to be more excited about eating pizza after leaving her faith than anything else regarding leaving. It seemed strange, but on second thought pizza is really delicious!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    I was disappointed in this book. Its coverage of the author's Orthodoxy was too negative over the course of the book and when she saved a bit of positivity for the end it was too little too late. Although some readers are supportive of the author's effort to listen to the voices inside her that wanted to be liberated from situations that she found confining or less than meaningful, as well as to continue to grow in courage and joy, by leaving Orthodoxy and her husband, and her children part-time I was disappointed in this book. Its coverage of the author's Orthodoxy was too negative over the course of the book and when she saved a bit of positivity for the end it was too little too late. Although some readers are supportive of the author's effort to listen to the voices inside her that wanted to be liberated from situations that she found confining or less than meaningful, as well as to continue to grow in courage and joy, by leaving Orthodoxy and her husband, and her children part-time. Perhaps reading her other novels which were written before this one can explain her positions better, but it seems to me that that should not be a necessity. The memoir should stand on its own. It was lacking in a coherent theology, grown-up sexuality, and joy. I do not fault the author's journey here. Such journeys are very individual. As a depiction of modern Orthodoxy, I am sure that there are better examples.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nell

    My Name Is Asher Lev reminded me that I wanted to read this memoir of life as a woman in an ultra-Orthodox community. As Asher Lev found, there are no half measures; you’re either all in or you’re out. Tova knows from a young age that she can’t be her authentic self in a community where women are treated as unequal to men. She has trouble believing in doctrine that has to be shoehorned into scripture and rationalized to make it fit, or arbitrary rules and rituals that make no sense in the modern My Name Is Asher Lev reminded me that I wanted to read this memoir of life as a woman in an ultra-Orthodox community. As Asher Lev found, there are no half measures; you’re either all in or you’re out. Tova knows from a young age that she can’t be her authentic self in a community where women are treated as unequal to men. She has trouble believing in doctrine that has to be shoehorned into scripture and rationalized to make it fit, or arbitrary rules and rituals that make no sense in the modern world. She even doubts that the God of her sect cares about some of the arcane minutiae that adherence requires of her. But having been raised in the culture, she has internalized the voices of the rabbis that label her as bad for having such thoughts, and she has no experience of other ways to live, so she tries to tamp down her anger and follows along the path set for her. She marries at 22 after knowing her husband-to-be for only twelve weeks. It only gets harder over some 15 years of marriage and three children, until she can deny no longer that she can’t stay. Deciding to divorce means that Tova will leave not only her husband but the only way of life she has known. Former friends shun her. Shared custody is tricky when one parent is ultra-Orthodox and one is not, with the real possibility that she will lose access to her children if she strays too far. She eventually finds a way to incorporate into her life what is meaningful to her about Judaism. As Tova moves toward a more pluralistic life, her brother moves to Israel and becomes a rabbi in an ultraconservative Jewish sect. Her children, even before the divorce, have different attitudes toward the ultra-Orthodox culture. The older son hews to his beliefs but prefers to exercise them in a pluralistic Jewish school. The younger son rebels against many of the restrictions and ends up going to a public school. As Asher Lev did, as Tova did, the kids knew even before they could articulate it how they fit, or didn’t, into this closed community. At least Tova can offer her children the benefit of her experience as they make their way to adulthood.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    It was difficult to separate (ta da ching) this book from another recent Jewish memoir that I'd read, Abigail Pogrebin's MY JEWISH YEAR. Both of these memoirs follow the course of a year, often touching upon Jewish holidays. But while Pogrebin's memoir is about connecting more fully to Jewish rituals in an oft-progressive setting, Mirvis's is about leaving the strict rituals and life of Orthodoxy. Also throughout the essays in the memoir, Mirvis gives a backstory to her religious life, from child It was difficult to separate (ta da ching) this book from another recent Jewish memoir that I'd read, Abigail Pogrebin's MY JEWISH YEAR. Both of these memoirs follow the course of a year, often touching upon Jewish holidays. But while Pogrebin's memoir is about connecting more fully to Jewish rituals in an oft-progressive setting, Mirvis's is about leaving the strict rituals and life of Orthodoxy. Also throughout the essays in the memoir, Mirvis gives a backstory to her religious life, from childhood and through marriage. This is not the stereotypical account of an abused haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) woman stumbling out of a nightmarish world and never looking back. Mirvis grew up Modern Orthodox, and within her friends group and even her family, people practice Judaism differently. I was particularly taken with the set up of one of her essays where she travels to Israel for her niece's bat mitzvah--yet her brother and his family are part of a Hasidic sect! Just reminders upon reminders of how layered and complicated any religious observance is, despite some claims to the contrary. In broad strokes, Mirvis was someone who spent her childhood wanting to belong, even when questioning, because that's how she was taught about goodness. In a post-graduate study year in Israel, she actually did feel connection to the texts in a girls' Yeshiva, and upon matriculating into Columbia for her undergraduate degree, she stayed within the Orthodox world. She also married Orthodox--and young--which in retrospect is something she understands as having done without fully knowing herself first. Contrasted with her sister, Delilah*, who married (Modern Orthodox) at 37, and had much more experience and self-knowledge. Of course most people, not even just the traditionally religious, might find 37 too long to wait, but as a mid-30s singleton myself, who may or may not ever find herself under the chuppah; who knows what life has in store--I found it uplifting. I've somewhat casually thrown out the line that is the entire crux of Mirvis's journey away from Orthodoxy--"who knows what life has in store;" there is more than one way to live. Incrementally, she grew frustrated and depressed by following a sometimes self-righteous (meaning there are those who say that Orthodoxy is "the only way") path that increasingly didn't speak to her beliefs and her personal journey. I've heard this book praised for criticizing Orthodoxy without throwing the entire institution under the bus. And indeed, Mirvis has no choice at first, since in many ways it's the only path she knows, but more importantly her children will continue to be raised in the faith. Later, as she's able to get some distance and perspective, she reclaims parts of traditional practice that still hold meaning for her. In quite obvious, titular ways, this book is about separation. The title in fact comes from part of the get, aka Jewish religious divorce laws. And Mirvis comes from a world that holds itself apart enough that for many, any exit must mean a full and entire exit. Mirvis finds, through this painful yet inspirational process, that some things she has to leave behind for good. Yet in adopting a new type of worldview, there are some things that aren't so black and white, either. I got feklempt reading this book, and a lot of it is my own baggage. As a progressive Jew, I'm used to some Orthodox (and former Orthodox) seeing us as more alien than gentiles. Orthodoxy centers around a rigidity and literalist interpretation of laws, whereas my rabbi sermonized last Yom Kippur: "When some people decide that their ideas are superior to others and they attempt to silence opposing opinions and free discussion, that’s idolatry. When people worship every inch of the Land of Israel as sacred and indivisible, taking precedence over the sanctity and dignity of life, justice and peace , that’s idolatry. When people worship the idea that the bible must be followed literally, that’s idolatry too." (http://rabbisteinlauf.blogspot.com/20...) Yet, hypocritically, though I don't follow that life, I always get nervous when someone leaves Orthodoxy and essentially calls it "wrong." I suppose that's irrational residue about antisemitism and assimilation. Objectively speaking, I think Mirvis covers in her non-fiction, just like in her fiction, what it's like to embody complex realities. This is not about one way being "wrong" and another being "right." This is not about some grand epiphany, but about the small and complicated steps one takes in order to know oneself and the world. Also, as a fan of her novels, I was fascinated to see their creation play out in her life story. I was particularly taken with THE VISIBLE CITY, for as I focused on neighbors who saw each other throw windows but couldn't really *know* each other, she (and her husband) focused on the married couples who couldn't connect. Veins from the same source, surely. Like her other fans, I've been eagerly awaiting this memoir's publication for a few years now, and it certainly lived up to expectations. Now, not to be demanding or anything, I hope she goes and writes something else stat! *Mirvis changed the names of family members and friends to protect their privacy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Overall, I thought it was interesting and thought-provoking, especially since there were so many moral parallels to Mormonism. Orthodox Judaism seemed kind of like being Mormon with 100 times more rules to follow. Sometimes the book felt a little self-indulgent as memoirs can be... "and then I stepped out into the rain with tears falling from my eyes..." I made that up, but I just mean the minute step-by-step detailing of her every thought, feeling and action. And maybe sometimes overly dramatic Overall, I thought it was interesting and thought-provoking, especially since there were so many moral parallels to Mormonism. Orthodox Judaism seemed kind of like being Mormon with 100 times more rules to follow. Sometimes the book felt a little self-indulgent as memoirs can be... "and then I stepped out into the rain with tears falling from my eyes..." I made that up, but I just mean the minute step-by-step detailing of her every thought, feeling and action. And maybe sometimes overly dramatic. Her reasons for leaving made sense to me--she felt trapped, didn't believe and was tired of pretending. I appreciated her honesty about the things she missed--the family time, closeness, rituals (family ones) and food she loved. I wrote down this quote: "Freeing yourself doesn't mean letting go of everything." I liked that. And this: "You can miss even what you need to leave." I wanted to know what she and her husband fought she bitterly about. She never really says. Also, she had a double whammy leaving her marriage AND her religion. It wasn't really a happy book. More reflective and full of pain--all the pain she felt at being trapped followed by the pain of leaving and separation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hilary Brown

    I needed this. I couldn't believe how much of it felt familiar. The writing got a little long-winded and trite towards the end, but most of it filled me with relief. I needed this. I couldn't believe how much of it felt familiar. The writing got a little long-winded and trite towards the end, but most of it filled me with relief.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I haven't highlighted as much text since college, than I did reading this. This is a beautifully written memoir of a woman leaving Orthodox Judaism. Having been on a similar journey myself out of a different, but equally demanding religion, this book spoke to me on a very personal level, and I could relate to her experiences so much. The human experience really is shared, and I loved reading Mirvis' story that mirrored my own in so many ways. I haven't highlighted as much text since college, than I did reading this. This is a beautifully written memoir of a woman leaving Orthodox Judaism. Having been on a similar journey myself out of a different, but equally demanding religion, this book spoke to me on a very personal level, and I could relate to her experiences so much. The human experience really is shared, and I loved reading Mirvis' story that mirrored my own in so many ways.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    I found this memoir to be beautifully written and fully engaging. I began reading The Book of Separation to get a look into a world I’ve been curious about but I got so much more. The emotion and experience felt honest and real and I appreciated Tova Mirvis’ candor.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily Goenner

    A little hard to rate this book, for me. Parts of it touched me deeply, since I can relate so closely to the pain of separation, leaving, losing what you hoped for. Even parts of the effect of Orthodoxy I could understand, interestingly, such as fighting the rules that had become the voices in her own head, and struggling with growing up "good" or "bad." On the other hand, sometimes there was just too much religion for this non believer. A little hard to rate this book, for me. Parts of it touched me deeply, since I can relate so closely to the pain of separation, leaving, losing what you hoped for. Even parts of the effect of Orthodoxy I could understand, interestingly, such as fighting the rules that had become the voices in her own head, and struggling with growing up "good" or "bad." On the other hand, sometimes there was just too much religion for this non believer.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    My introduction to Tova Mirvis came while reading her novel, *The Ladies' Auxiliary* about an Orthodox community in Memphis. If that sounds like an oxymoron, please remember that my Jewish raisin' took place in Knoxville. Southern Jews talk a certain cadence that's unique to the blend, and Tova Mirvis captured the voice perfectly. I thought I was in Knoxville again. Mirvis' ladies sounded a lot like Jeanne Gudis, Faye Gluck, Esther Webster and Becky Winston, even if we are Reform. Y'all say Shal My introduction to Tova Mirvis came while reading her novel, *The Ladies' Auxiliary* about an Orthodox community in Memphis. If that sounds like an oxymoron, please remember that my Jewish raisin' took place in Knoxville. Southern Jews talk a certain cadence that's unique to the blend, and Tova Mirvis captured the voice perfectly. I thought I was in Knoxville again. Mirvis' ladies sounded a lot like Jeanne Gudis, Faye Gluck, Esther Webster and Becky Winston, even if we are Reform. Y'all say Shalom! Although I know how to be a Southern Jew, I have no idea what it's like to live as Modern Orthodox - and Tova Mirvis had no idea, until the time frame of her memoir, how not to be. When she faced the demise of her marriage and the fact that Orthodoxy was no longer home to her, she had to figure out how to live the best life for herself and her three children. Readers not of Mirvis' origins will receive a detailed, balanced education to mirror the journey upon which she takes us. For Orthodox readers who choose this book - and I'm guessing that as many will as won't - I cannot speak. Mirvis lets us in on deeply painful truths, strengthening trajectories, and unexpected resolutions. I'm hoping curiosity will be the catalyst.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tzipora

    I stumbled into this book kind of by accident but I’m so glad I did. Shortly after I started reading this book, there were a number of antisemitic arson attempts- first on Chabad houses in Boston and a day or two later it all got way too close to home with my an attempt at my Modern Orthodox synagogue, in my neighborhood. I share this because as much as one would assume the last thing I might want to be reading while trying to cope with this would be a leaving Orthodoxy type book, this book ende I stumbled into this book kind of by accident but I’m so glad I did. Shortly after I started reading this book, there were a number of antisemitic arson attempts- first on Chabad houses in Boston and a day or two later it all got way too close to home with my an attempt at my Modern Orthodox synagogue, in my neighborhood. I share this because as much as one would assume the last thing I might want to be reading while trying to cope with this would be a leaving Orthodoxy type book, this book ended up being perfect. It was like a salve for my soul reading the beautiful ways Tova wrote about Modern Orthodox life. She didn’t have the same sort of anger towards the community that I have seen in other books (and I absolutely think there’s way too many leaving ones faith books lately, but I’m grateful for this one). I won’t claim she wasn’t angry (and at times I feel my own anger and frustration at the Jewish Community as well) but it seems by the time she wrote this book, or perhaps in the act of writing it, she was able to make peace with her past and the choices she made going forward. I’m sure it also helps that this book isn’t just about leaving frum life but also about divorce and more broadly about facing fears, becoming one’s self. But Judaism absolutely infused every page and it was a type of Judaism, growing up as I did in what I refer to as “Conservadox” Judaism, having had life events bring me both closer and to some degree away (and back again) to Judaism as well, there was a lot to relate to. And there was a deep comfort in a book so many others described as very sad. In this space in time for this particular reader it was a balm to my soul. I don’t often see the type of Judaism I know best, the Judaism that feels so at home and for me so right, reflected in literature (fiction or non) and given the antisemiticism and horrific attacks hitting all stripes of Judaism in the US and across the diaspora, it turned out to be just what I needed. For several days I could curl up and hide away in this world I knew so well. And perhaps because my own Jewish journey has been a rocky one at times, even though I landed at a very different spot than the author, it still felt like curling up with family or an older sister to discuss this huge thing that made up our lives and who we are and that would forever shape us regardless of how our paths had diverged. There’s no denying this is a beautifully written memoir. And one of the greatest things about books is when you hit upon what I seemed to here, when the right book finds you at the right time. I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed the book at any time, especially given how much I could relate but I don’t know that anyone else would take away from it or find in it what I did. I can say I don’t think this book is a threat to anyone who is religious who might want to read it. There isn’t the bitterness here towards Judaism I’ve seen in other books of this type. For me my battles with Judaism have made me stronger and have made me love it more and at times I think it’s good to read about others struggles. I imagine too, relating to it as strongly as I did, it would be an interesting and relatively accurate (if admittedly one sided, though how can any memoir be anything but?) depiction of Modern Orthodox Judaism to those who aren’t familiar with it. Maybe not as at least one reviewer somehow got through the whole book and was convinced Mirvis has been Ultra Orthodox which is a very different thing (and something that is briefly touched on a few times in the book, including discussing how her brother had moved to Israel and become ultra Orthodox). So maybe it isn’t enough for that sort of reader but to me despite having a very different set of struggles or pains with Judaism and having a very different end result, it was so familiar, almost soothing. I can only imagine the author and I would have some great discussions if we ever met. I suppose I also related to it because while I’ve never been married and couldn’t personally relate to the divorce aspect or motherhood, there’s a lot here that is about growing up (the real growing up that is less about age but becoming ones self), facing fears, overcoming pain. It’s a very human book and the author is writing from a place of self reflection in a way I think would make this book appeal to a wide audience. It’s neither an ugly screen against religious Judaism nor one of those overly happy ending type memoirs where one goes through hard times and suddenly everything is right in the world. And I think it’s a rarer sort of memoir where we see true inner growth of the author. Kind of a vague review perhaps and I had even set aside quotes to add and thought I’d go somewhere else with this but I think the way I read it and what I got out of it is so individual that maybe this is the best way to write this review. There are few better testaments to a good book then this, right? And to think I happened across it by accident and had not initially planned to read it when I first learned about it (I’m pretty keyed into the Jewish book landscape) but I’m so glad that I did. I’ll leave you with perhaps my favorite quote from the book, one that I think explains the book well and why I actually didn’t find it to be such a sad book at all- “In making more room for my happiness, there is also more space for the sadness- the two don’t cancel each other out but exist side by side.”

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    As a fan of Tova Mirvis's fiction works, I had high expectations for this memoir. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. I think the problem is that I wanted to know more. I felt like she didn't go deep enough. There's so much more that she could have said about wanting out of her marriage, out of her religion. It seemed like we mostly got an overview. As a fan of Tova Mirvis's fiction works, I had high expectations for this memoir. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I wanted it to be. I think the problem is that I wanted to know more. I felt like she didn't go deep enough. There's so much more that she could have said about wanting out of her marriage, out of her religion. It seemed like we mostly got an overview.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    Beyond boring. Just kept whining on and the story never went anywhere for me.

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