Author: Alison Pick
Publisher: Harper Perenial
Publishing Date: 2015
From the Man Booker-nominated author of the novel Far to Go and one of our most talented young writers comes an unflinching, moving and unforgettable memoir about family secrets and the rediscovered past.
Alison Pick was born in the 1970s and raised in a supportive, loving family. She grew up laughing with her sister and cousins, and doting on her grandparents. Then as a teenager, Alison made a discovery that instantly changed her understanding of her family, and her vision for her own life, forever. She learned that her Pick grandparents, who had escaped from the Czech Republic during WWII, were Jewish--and that most of this side of the family had died in concentration camps. She also discovered that her own father had not known of this history until, in his twenties, he had a chance encounter with an old family friend--and then he, too, had kept the secret from Alison and her sister.
In her early thirties, engaged to be married to her longtime boyfriend but struggling with a crippling depression, Alison slowly but doggedly began to research and uncover her Jewish heritage. Eventually she came to realize that her true path forward was to reclaim her history and indentity as a Jew. But even then, one seemingly insurmountable problem remained: her mother wasn't Jewish, so technically Alison wasn't either. In this by times raw, by times sublime memoir, Alison recounts her struggle with the meaning of her faith, her journey to convert to Judaism, her battle with depression, and her path towards facing and accepting the past and embracing the future--including starting a new family of her own. This is her unusual and gripping story, told in crystalline prose and with all the nuance and drama of a novel, but illuminated with heartbreaking insight into the very real lives of the dead, and hard-won hope for the lives of all those who carry on after.
About Alison Pick
Alison Pick was the Bronwen Wallace Award winner for the most promising writer under thirty-five in Canada. Her first novel is The Sweet Edge, and her second novel, the bestseller Far to Go, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize, won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction, and was named a “Top 10 of 2010” book by the Toronto Star. Between Gods, named a “Best Book” by both the Globe and Mail and CBC, has been nominated for the prestigious BC National Award for Nonfiction.
I've often wondered why some people decide to take on the yoke of Judaism; could it be spouses, or interest in Judaism, or disillusionment with other faiths? And I often admired the people who decided to convert to Judaism. I imagine that as intermarriage rates between Jews and non-Jews will increase, this book will be a beacon for the lost souls, and especially when you grew up in Alison's situation or even mine where I knew nothing about my heritage. As a child, I grew up in Moscow Russia during the end times of Soviet Union, and, unfortunately, the only thing I knew about Judaism is the word. My family celebrated Soviet Union holidays and only at the very end did we start learning a little bit about the rituals that tie up with Judaism. Its only later on that we haphazardly began to celebrate some Jewish holidays, and that I began learning Jewish history at a local university. In the future I will try to incorporate Jewish ideas into my life, and hopefully will pass them down to future generations. A highly recommended read for Jews and non-Jews alike.
This is for TLC Book Tours
Alison’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, October 20th: Back Porchervations
Wednesday, October 21st: From L.A. to LA
Thursday, October 22nd: Buried in Print
Friday, October 23rd: Not in Jersey
Monday, October 26th: BooknAround
Tuesday, October 27th: Life By Kristen
Wednesday, October 28th: Worth Getting in Bed For
Thursday, October 29th: The many thoughts of a reader
Monday, November 2nd: Book Hooked Blog
Tuesday, November 3rd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, November 3rd: 5 Minutes For Books
Wednesday, November 4th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, November 5th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, November 6th: Book by Book5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)