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Virtual Book Club: The Outside World by Tova Mirvis


The Outside World by Tova Mirvis is a sweet story about two Orthodox Jewish families join together as their children get married, and how family dynamics, religion, tradition, and purpose It is a very clear, concise, and well-written book.
I learned a lot about the Orthodox Jewish culture from this novel, and found appreciation for the Hebrew words interspersed within the writing. To be honest, I have no knowledge of Orthodox Judaism, and I would assume most people who are not of that religion don't as well, since so many of their traditions and reasons for doing things are within the context of their worship, texts, and from rabbis past.
Something I found hard to digest in this book, though, was the mother and father of the main character, Tzippy. They are constantly chasing either a pipe dream or trying to keep up with the Jones', and therefore, couldn't really connect with their characters, or empathize with them. That may have been the point, certainly, since these are people that only "follow the rules" so that others, looking in, may not see their true selves, but it still made the book go very slowly for me. The main characters, Baruch & Tzippy are themselves fine characters; true to each other, honest to themselves about who they are, and just generally good kids.
I probably wouldn't have picked this book up if I hadn't had it for book club (each member chooses one book to read), because I found it to be very average.
One can glean many things from any piece of literature, and this is no exception. We will talk about motive & intentions regarding money & material possessions, and what true reverence to God looks like, but I will lean a lot on the person who chose this book for other discussion.
Up next: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner.


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