Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A great read that makes you think.....

I am sure there are many books that fall under this heading. But I have just finished one that hit an area I hadn't thought about before. I have been reading Naomi Ragen's books for a long while. They are always well written and have descriptions and stories about Jewish life that was new to me. While I was raised in a Conservative home I did not know much about the very orthodox way of life.... here or abroad.

This is the cover of her newest book. The image is from her website.

This book, The Tenth Song, is different from her earlier work. Her website describes it "as book about what happens to people when their lives suddenly fall apart without warning. It's about the challenges and lessons, and yes, the unexpected way we can start all over."   The family in the book have lived an observant life in New York.  While there are many life changing events that take place for several members of the family that require thoughtful changes on the part of the characters it was not these events that made this book so special for me.  

It was the "happenings" between this family and their spiritual leader.  What happens when the person you have looked to for spiritual and moral support  truly disappoints you when you most need the support of the person in that role?  It was almost painful to watch the Samuels family realize the path their Rabbi has chosen to follow.  l hope Ms. Ragen will follow this man in her next book. I kept wondering, if this had been real life, how this religious leader would have dealt with the path he chose to follow as the book concluded.

It didn't have to be a rabbi. It could have been any religious leader of any faith of any given family. There are so many pieces of any person that would be affected is a situation like this one. I can only hope many book clubs select this book. I would like to a fly in the wall during the discussions that would follow.

By the way, if this is a new author for you, I strongly suggest you also read the Ghost of Hannah Mendes. Maybe I will write about it the next time.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I know what you mean. The newly retired person will, very often, flounder around for a while before finding his or her "true retired self." It's important that the newly retired person expect this to occur so as not to become frustrated and troubled by it. Bill

Dr. Larry Anderson said...


Please keep up your excellent work here. What a thrill it is to read your cogitations and to realize that I have beside you on several occasions and gleaned the wisdom that you have accumulated over the years. And, I have appreciated the unselfish, giving spirit you radiate with such grace and ease.

You're a true friend for the ages, my dear friend!

--Dr. Larry S. Anderson