Hush by Eishes Chayil

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Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail-and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.

A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.

About Eishes Chayil

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EISHES CHAYIL is a pseudonym meaning woman of valor, chosen by JUDY BROWN when Hush was first published because of feared backlash from her community. Since publication, Judy's identity has been revealed, she has left the Chassidic community, and she has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine. Judy was raised in a world of Chassidic schools, synagogues, and summer camps and is a direct descendant of the major founders of and leaders in the Chassidic world. She holds a master's degree in creative writing and has worked as a journalist for several international Orthodox newspapers. She lives in New York City.
Published September 14, 2010 by Walker Childrens. 365 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Religion & Spirituality, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hush

Kirkus Reviews

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Interleaved chapters of Gittel at ten and 17 reveal two heartbreaking stories: the sexual abuse and subsequent suicide of ten-year-old Gittel's best friend, and Gittel's wholly believable breakdown seven years later.

Aug 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Hush


Hush by Eishes Chayil (a pseudonym for "woman of valor") is a story that takes the reader on a journey, a journey far away to a culture in modern-day New York, but whose inhabitants live in a very different world than the one most people inhabit.

Nov 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Hush

Teen Reads

But while Devory’s and Gittel’s parents just call Devory a problem child, Gittel desperately wants to understand why Devory is so troubled.

Sep 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Hush

Shelf Awareness

"For the moment, while [Andrew] Wylie has infuriated publishers and done his authors no favors in the Amazon deal, he has brought the issue of e-book royalties to the front rank of digital matters to be clarified, which is actually a plus.

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Shelf Awareness

The author balances the weighty themes of Gittel’s coming of age with warm depictions of her family, her observations about the role of the shtreimel (the hat “worn by all righteous Jews in the world”) at the center of religious life, and her forbidden relationship with a goyishe (non-Jewish) fam...

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Arlington Public Library

Gittel doesn't understand her friend until one evening, while staying over at Devory's house, she witnesses Devory's brother forcing her friend to do something under the covers.

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Hush

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