“Review at: http://booksinthespotlight.blogspot.com/2010/12/hush.html”Cullengirl l wrote this review Friday, May 13, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Although the setting in this novel may be unfamiliar and even alien to most readers, the events are ripped right from the headlines. Readers will be fascinated to learn about Gittel's world and marvel at how protected and sheltered she is within it. The contrast between her and her friend who has no protection, recourse or justice is shocking and sobering.”Dolores S wrote this review Tuesday, November 30, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
““Some subjects are better off in silence.” That’s the philosophy of the ultra-Orthodox Chassidic Jewish community where 17-year-old Gittel Klein is preparing to graduate and then enter an arranged marriage. Separated from the secular world by her sect’s edict to “never ever trust the goyim,” independent Gittel struggles to embrace “the most important role of women” – modesty in dress and demeanor. She is plagued by memories of Devory, the adventurous best friend who died when both girls were nine. Gittel searches for a voice to release the shameful secret behind Devory’s death: the “greatest enemies always grow from within.”
Writing under a pseudonym that means woman of valor, author Chayil mines her personal experience to deliver a fascinating look into a culture so secretive that even sexual abuse goes unpunished for fear of speaking evil of other Jews. The first 44 chapters, which alternate between the pivotal childhood event and Gittel’s present day life, move briskly, fueled by dramatic tension and suspense. Chayil handles the troubling circumstances of Devory’s death with sensitivity, masterfully writing in the sincere, naive voice of nine-year-old Gittel. The pace slows significantly, though, in the remaining chapters, which describe the details of Gittel’s wedding, early married life, and her eventual act of valor.
Readers unfamiliar with Jewish culture may struggle with the abundant use of Yiddish dialect, requiring frequent flipping to the book’s comprehensive glossary. But the story is so compelling and the setting so unique that those brief detours are worth the effort.
Recommend Hush to readers drawn to the issues in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak or the atmosphere of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen.”
“Having it through a Jewish girls perspective i learn a lot about the jewish culture which was really interesting. The book flashed back in forth between when she was younger in 1999/2000 and when she was older in 2008 which made me want to keep ready because I just HAD to find out what happened. So overall I really enjoyed reading this book. ”Taylor S wrote this review Sunday, October 24, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Hush was a very interesting experience to add in my reading library. I was captivated by the Ultra Orthodox or Chassidic lifestyle. This was an eye opening experience of a world that I was completely aware. I never knew that there was a society that still followed such strict religious living. From the start I was uneasy with the lifestyle of the community. As a child Gittel experinces numerous occasions of shame due primarily to society reputation. I am sickened that Gittel lived for so many years with the memory of Devory, but had to hide her feelings and the truth for the sake of society. More importantly, I am sickened that Devory's mother was aware of this situation early on, but she was willing to silence the victim for the sake of her and the families reputation. My anger was not only at the key players, but the number of individuals that could and should have helped this child is astounding. I can not believe that an entire society could chose to stand aside, and not raise a single finger. This is a tragedy and terrifying that children are still experiencing this type of lifestyle today, and opening the door for similar situations. The author note following this story was even more disturbing, as an Ultra Orthodox she was raised in society such as this. She explains how components of this story were actually experiences that she had experienced in her own life. I try to believe that I maintain a fairly open mind to all ways of life, but I can not say that I felt anything positive about this lifestyle. I cherish the opportunity to read a book that open my eyes to another way of life, but this was a story that really turned me inside out. Emotions ran so high through out this story that I would have to take breaks, and allow myself a moment to rest from mental exhaustion. Therefore, as a whole between the concentration required in reading and the content of this book it was a very interesting experience and a horrifying look at what some live everyday. Be ready for a journey. ”Book Whisperer wrote this review Monday, October 11, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No