Never in my wildest imaginations would I envision myself reading an Orthodox Jewish love story. I just never thought these things existed. To be sure, I read alot of books about Jews and their plight in history(Anne Frank, The Zookeeper’s Wife, The Giver, Sarah’s Key, I am Forbidden) but Brooklyn Love, by Yael Levy, is a tale of 3 young Jewish women on a quest to get married; a book that I didn’t think existed.
Brooklyn Love is set in modern day Brooklyn, New York, an enclave for the Jewish community, orthodox especially. The tale weaves around the lives of Hindy, Leah, and Rachel who are approximately 19-20 years old and searching for good Jewish husbands as their religion and their culture demands. Don’t let the premise fool you. The story is endearing, funny, and heartbreaking. These brave young women must struggle with what they want to do and what they must do. Imagine a slumber party in which young women gorge themselves over pizza and soda. These women look at photos of hamburgers on the internet and drool over them because they are forbidden. The scene is funny because you realize they are just like you in some ways.
If you’re like me, you’re intrigued by other cultures (aka food) and want to know more about them. Yael Levy brings my two favorite topics together splendidly: food and books. The characters in the story are always eating or preparing or cleaning up after a meal. You can practically smell the mouth-watering cholent (Jewish stew) simmering in the crockpot on Friday evenings. What family doesn’t enjoy eating a yummy family dinner together?
Another large part of Brooklyn Love is the fashion. Orthodox Jewish men and women have strict rules about fashion and are supposed to be covered up. You’ve probably seen men dressed like this before:
And you’ve probably seen the women dressed like this:
An interesting note about the characters in this story is that many of them where wealthy and dressed very fashionably, as the young lady on the left. While her outfit is not as demure or conservative as the ladies on the right, in some segments it might be seen as appropriate. I imagine Rachel to look like the woman on the left and our beautiful Hindy to look like the woman in the black sweater on the right.
And speaking of Hindy. Oh how you’ll love her. She is the most beautiful character I’ve read in a long time. You will adore her: she’s balding and overweight but has the most beautiful, loving personality.
You’ll cheer, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll scratch your head while reading Brooklyn Love. Go out and get the book. Today. This is a book the whole family can enjoy!
I give Brooklyn Love four paws for its insightful and in depth look at Orthodox Jewish life!