Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Am Forbidden: Book Review

I Am Forbidden
By Anouk Markovits
Copy from Edelweiss

I Am Forbidden, takes place in 1939 in Transylvania in the Satmar Community.
Josef a little boy, witnesses the murder of his parents by the Nazi regime. He is rescued by a Christian maid.
Five years later. Josef rescues a Jewish girl, Mila after her parents were killed running to meet the Rebbe they hoped would save them. Josef helps Mila reach Zalma Stern, the leader of the Satmar Community. There the Zalman's raise Mila as their own with their own daughter, Atara.
Meanwhile Josef is sent to America, specifically Williamsburg, in New York City.
As the girls mature, Mila's faith becomes observant as any person would, being raised in the Satmar community. While Atara's faith is continually questioned with the love of books, arts, and learning not by the Satmar traditions but by the secular world. She continually questions the fundamental ideas of the Jewish, and Satmar community.
When the girls reach adulthood. Mila marries in the faith. But, Atara is banished by the community and her parents. For years the girls don't speak, or contact each other until one day.
Mila marries within the faith, while Atara continues to to question the fundamental ideas of the Satmar Jewish faith.
After 10 years of marriage Mila is unable to conceive. She makes one decision that will affect her marriage and her children for years to come.
My Review: I picked up this novel because it was about the Satmar Jews. I don't know much about this sect. I have been exposed to orthodox, modern orthodox, and Chabad, but never to the Satmar. I had to do my own research to find out about them.
Reading this novel, was a eye opener. The author wrote this to open up a discussion about fundamentalism. There is many things as I am reading the novel, I don't agree with. Some of the traditions are very extreme.
I would think if you were raised in the Satmar community you would not question because you don't know anything different. But, as you get older the world opens up to you.

Mila did something that was life changing and never told anyone. This lie cost her, her marriage and her family.
I enjoyed reading, most of the novel I could not put it down to the very end. If you like historical fiction, and Jewish Faith, and Bible, and Jewish communities, you will like I Am Forbidden.


ImageNations said...

Now you make me curious to know more about this sect. Thanks for this.

Marie Cloutier said...

there's a good documentary about the satmar narrated by leonard nimoy; i can't remember the title but it might be something like souls on fire. it might be interesting to watch. i know i'd like to read this book!

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