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[personal profile] alobear
This week, I finished Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, which is subtitled "The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots." I'm not sure the best way for me to learn about other cultures is to read sensationalist exposes by people who have 'escaped', but hey.

It's a compelling memoir, telling a sometimes horrifying story of repression and restriction. I think the subtitle presents it as a deliberately shocking account meant to titillate, which undermines its credibility for me. I know there were some negative reactions to the book when it was published, suggesting that it's not wholly accurate, but I'm not here to make a judgement call on that, and there's certainly an argument that those who criticised it would benefit from it being discredited.

Feldman certainly presents a vivid account of her experiences, and doesn't shy away from the most intimate of details. The narrative doesn't always show her in a good light, which made me more sympathetic to her as the tale progressed, and made it feel more honest and authentic.

It's well written and fascinating in a lot of ways, but it's always a good idea to approach memoir from the point of view that it's trying to tell a good story, rather than being a purely factual account.

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