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“Deborah Feldman was raised within an insular, oppressive world where she was taught that, as being a woman, she wasn’t effective at independent thought. But she found the pluck and determination needed to generate the break from that world and contains written a brave, riveting account of her journey. Unorthodox is harrowing, yet triumphant.”—Jeannette Walls, #1 bestselling author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses

“Feldman provides special insight in a closed and repressive world. . . . Her memoir is fresh and tart and utterly absorbing.”—Library Journal

“Nicely written . . . [An] engaging and also at times gripping insight into Brooklyn's Hasidic community.”—Publishers Weekly

“A remarkable tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Feldman’s evolution too as her look in a very closed community make for fascinating reading … her storyteller’s sense plus a keen eye for details give readers a you-are-there sense of what it really is like to be different when everyone else may be the same.”—Booklist

In the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, Unorthodox can be a captivating story about a young woman determined to live her very own life at any cost.
The Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism can be as mysterious as it's intriguing to outsiders. In this arresting memoir, Deborah Feldman reveals what life's like trapped inside a religious tradition that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

The child of the mentally disabled father as well as a mother who abandoned the city while her daughter used to be a toddler, Deborah was raised by her strictly religious grandparents, Bubby and Zeidy. Along which has a rotating cast of aunts and uncles, they enforced customs which has a relentless increased exposure of rules that governed anything from what Deborah could wear and to whom she could speak, as to the she was allowed to read. As she grew from an inquisitive little girl for an independent-minded young woman, stolen moments reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to imagine an alternate strategy for life. She didn't have idea how you can seize this dream that did actually beckon to her in the skyscrapers of Manhattan, but she was determined to find a way. The tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities being a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until, in the day of seventeen, she found herself trapped inside a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to some man she'd met for just thirty minutes before they became engaged. As a result, she experienced debilitating anxiety that was exacerbated with the public shame of getting did not immediately consummate her marriage and thus serve her husband. However it wasn’t until she had a child at nineteen that Deborah realized a much more than just her very own future was at stake, and that, regardless of the obstacles, she would ought to forge a path—for herself and her son—to happiness and freedom.


From UNorthodox:

I have secrets too. Maybe Bubby is aware of them, but she won’t say anything about mine if I don’t say anything about hers. Or perhaps I've only imagined her complicity; you will quickly realize there's chance this agreement is merely one-sided. Would Bubby tattle on me? I hide my books beneath the bed, and he or she hides hers in her own lingerie, as soon as per year when Zeidy inspects the house for Passover, poking through our things, we hover anxiously, terrified for being found out. Zeidy even rifles through my underwear drawer. Only when I simply tell him that this really is my private female stuff does he desist, unwilling to violate a woman’s privacy, and move on to my grandmother’s wardrobe. She will be as defensive as I will be when he rummages through her lingerie. We both realize that our small stash of secular books would shock my grandfather more than a pile of chametz, the forbidden leavening, ever could. Bubby could easily get away with a scolding, but I'd 't be spared the entire extent of my grandfather’s wrath. When my zeide gets angry, his long white beard seems to lift up and spread round his face like a fiery flame. I wither instantly inside the heat of his scorn. “Der tumeneh shprach!” he thunders at me when he overhears me speaking to my cousins in English. An impure language, Zeidy says, acts being a poison on the soul. Reading an English book is even worse; it leaves my soul vulnerable, a welcome mat put out for your devil.

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