By: Eishes Chayil
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books (September 14th 2010)
My Copy: Publisher Provided Review Copy
BookWhisperer: Four Stars
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.
Hush was a very interesting experience to add in my reading library. I was captivated by the Ultra Orthodox or Chassidic lifestyle. This was an eye opening experience of a world that I was completely aware. I never knew that there was a society that still followed such strict religious living. From the start I was uneasy with the lifestyle of the community. As a child Gittel experinces numerous occasions of shame due primarily to society reputation. I am sickened that Gittel lived for so many years with the memory of Devory, but had to hide her feelings and the truth for the sake of society. More importantly, I am sickened that Devory's mother was aware of this situation early on, but she was willing to silence the victim for the sake of her and the families reputation. My anger was not only at the key players, but the number of individuals that could and should have helped this child is astounding. I can not believe that an entire society could chose to stand aside, and not raise a single finger. This is a tragedy and terrifying that children are still experiencing this type of lifestyle today, and opening the door for similar situations. The author note following this story was even more disturbing, as an Ultra Orthodox she was raised in society such as this. She explains how components of this story were actually experiences that she had experienced in her own life. I try to believe that I maintain a fairly open mind to all ways of life, but I can not say that I felt anything positive about this lifestyle. I cherish the opportunity to read a book that open my eyes to another way of life, but this was a story that really turned me inside out. Emotions ran so high through out this story that I would have to take breaks, and allow myself a moment to rest from mental exhaustion. Therefore, as a whole between the concentration required in reading and the content of this book it was a very interesting experience and a horrifying look at what some live everyday. Be ready for a journey.
Thanks to the wonderful Publicist at Walker Books. I have a copy of Hush to offer to one lucky winner. To sign up all you need to do is comment on this review. Make sure to include your email address for contact. This contest will close on October 31. Winners will be notified, and book will be shipped from the publisher. This contest is only open to US residents. Sorry. Best of Luck!