Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Memoirs & Coffee Book Group to Meet

The next meeting of Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Memoirs and Coffee, will be held on Tuesday, November 19 at 10:30 am in the library’s Community Room.  Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers’ Services Manager for the library, will lead the discussion of “Unorthodox” (2012) by Deborah Feldman.  [The author will not be present.]

Raised in the cloistered world of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidim by her strictly religious grandparents, Deborah Feldman struggled to make sense of and obey the rigid strictures that governed her daily life.  Virtually every aspect of her identity was tightly controlled.  Married at age seventeen to a man she had only met for thirty minutes before they became engaged and denied a traditional education, she was unable to consummate the relationship for an entire year.  Her resultant debilitating anxiety went undiagnosed and was exacerbated by the public shame of having failed to serve her husband.  In the book, she recalls how reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to see an alternative way of life—one she knew she had to seize when, at the age of nineteen, she gave birth to a son and realized that more than just her own future was at stake.

Author Jeannette Walls wrote of the book: "Deborah Feldman was raised in an insular, oppressive world where she was taught that, as a woman, she wasn't capable of independent thought.  But she found the pluck and determination needed to make the break from that world and has written a brave, riveting account of her journey. "Unorthodox" is harrowing, yet triumphant." 

There is no charge and no sign-up is needed to join the discussion.  Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.

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