Publication Date: September 2010
Book Acquisition: received an ARC from the publisher
A lyrically written, powerful exploration of a girl's struggle within a hidden society
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. (from publisher's website)
Very, very, powerful. This is a book that I won't soon forget.
What I didn't like:
Parts of this book were hard to get through, emotionally speaking. There is actually nothing I, personally didn't like about this book. If anything, because of the subject matter, some parents, teachers and the like might want to read it for themselves before passing it on to a young teen.
What I liked:
The raw truth of the story. "Eishes Chayil" means Woman of Valor and the title fits this author (who has chosen this pseudonym) perfectly. For once, I completely agree with the summary on this one. Hush is the story of an extremely complex world. A world that could very easily be described as harsh, unforgiving and ignorant. Eishes explains her world to us. She makes us understand rather than judge. Her world isn't like most of ours but it's still good and true and it isn't immune.
The ARC I read contains an "Author's Note" section at the end that I very much hope is in the final copy. In it, Eishes gives us a personal view into the world she grew up in. A world were her and her family, ultra-Orthodox Jews living in Brooklyn New York didn't have a word for 'sexual abuse' in their culture.
I can only imagine what it took Eishes to write Hush and I challenge anyone to read it not be deeply moved by Gittel's story.
Reminded Me Of:
I know there are so many books out there for young readers that deal with emotional subject matters, such as Hush does. My reading repertoire is sadly lacking in the 'deep' books department. Any book that really makes you think - that gets under your skin and stays there. Any book that acts as a window into another culture and leaves you the better for it in the end. That book would remind me of Hush.
Who Would Enjoy It:
Fans of contemporary teen fiction and fans of contemporary fiction in general. Anyone looking for a very real, very truthful story.
5 / 5 Stars