I have a huge interest in the Hasidic Jewish religion. Mainly because I live two miles from one of the largest Hasidic communities (Kiryas Joel) in America.
When I saw Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, I pounced on it. A biographical sketch of her life as an Hasidic woman, the author gives the reader a window of what it is like to be a part of this ultra-orthodox religion. Their beliefs, their rules, their way of life are foreign in an "Old World" kind of way.
There are many different sects of Hasidim. And although the religious beliefs all fall under Judaism, their social outlooks may differ.
Unorthodox was a fascinating look into a private world that many people don't get to see. The orthodox people have a different way of thinking and living: they reject most aspects of secular life. Here, Deborah Feldman gives the reader a glimpse into her own personal life, and her experience of being a part of that religious world. From the daily ins-and-outs of being an Hasidic Jewish girl in a modern world, to her arranged marriage to someone whom she has never laid eyes on, Ms. Feldman leaves no stone unturned in this tell-all account of her struggles and triumphs.
I loved this. Like I said, I live very close to a huge Hasidic community, and I see members of the sect every single day. Not much is written on the subject, so when I see something, I tend to jump on it. I especially like biographical accounts, such as Unorthodox because it does give the reader a personal point-of-view, as opposed to just a general non-fiction fact-based volume.
(this was an e-book I purchased myself for the Kindle app on my iPad.)