Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

54%

14 Critic Reviews

Having endured her second-class citizenship long enough, she took her child and fled to the outside world, basking in her newfound liberty. It was a bold move, but Feldman doesn’t fully capture the significance of her departure. A remarkable tale told somewhat unremarkably.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The instant New York Times bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. It was stolen moments spent with the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that helped her to imagine an alternative way of life. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, for the sake of herself and her son, she had to escape.
 

About Deborah Feldman

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Deborah Feldman was raised in the Satmar Hasidic community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. She attends Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City with her son.
 
Published February 14, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality, Parenting & Relationships, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 04 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Unorthodox
All: 14 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Below average
on Oct 26 2011

Having endured her second-class citizenship long enough, she took her child and fled to the outside world, basking in her newfound liberty. It was a bold move, but Feldman doesn’t fully capture the significance of her departure. A remarkable tale told somewhat unremarkably.

Read Full Review of Unorthodox | See more reviews from Kirkus

The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Lisa Bones on Apr 07 2012

The lopsided book traverses her childhood in painstaking detail, which is often redundant and overwrought.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Jesse Kornbluth on Feb 24 2012

No doubt girls all over Brooklyn are buying this book. . .and contemplating, perhaps for the first time, their own escape.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Excellent
Reviewed by Barbara Spindel on Feb 15 2012

Feldman's straightforward writing only occasionally soars, but Unorthodox is consistently engaging.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Below average
Reviewed by Sandra Levis on May 09 2012

However, the ultimate, "scandalous" rejection of her heritage is distinctly anti-climactic.

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Newsday

Excellent
Reviewed by Marion Winik on Feb 16 2012

"One day I will open my mouth and I will never shut it again."Let's hope she never does.

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School Library Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Paula Gallagher on Feb 27 2012

Compulsively readable, Unorthodox relates a unique coming-of-age story that manages to speak personally to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in her own life.

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Jewish Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Elaine Margolin on Feb 10 2012

She is unlike so many other authors who have left Orthodoxy and written about it; her heart is not hardened by hatred, and her spirit is wounded but intact.

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BigThink.com

Below average
Reviewed by Adam Lee on Mar 05 2012

. . .it's possible that some details have been selectively presented to make her life seem more restrictive than was actually the case.

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The Jewish Daily Forward

Below average
Reviewed by Elishes Chayil on Feb 05 2012

I wish Feldman had delved more expansively into the elements that infuse the Hasidic community with life and meaning and joy.

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Religion News

Below average
Mar 30 2012

Feldman’s story is no doubt interesting. . .yet it sometimes reads at a strange, stilted pace.

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Unpious

Below average
Reviewed by Mordechai Ovits on Feb 26 2012

Unorthodox is not a terrible book, but it is a deeply flawed book.

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The Book Lady's Blog

Good
Reviewed by Rebecca Schinsky on Feb 10 2012

. . .bold, brave, and inspiring down to the very last word.

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Pacific Jewish Center Rabbi

Below average
Reviewed by Eliyahu Fink on Feb 20 2012

The book brought me to tears twice. . .The rest felt a bit detached and unremarkable.

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Reader Rating for Unorthodox
79%

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