Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guest Book Review: Who by Fire by Diana Spechler

Reviewed by Presenting Lenore guest reviewer Jen Reichert

Ash and Bits have been irreversibly changed in childhood by the kidnapping of their little sister, Alena. Thirteen years later, Ash still blames himself for Alena’s abduction and looks for a new life as an Orthodox Jew in Isreal. Bits took a much different direction, and has become a real wild child. Until one day when their mother phones to say that Alena’s remains are finally discovered. Trying to reach Ash to no avail, Bits jumps on a plane to travel half way across the world in attempt to bring her brother home, to ensure that the family is together one last time.

After reading the back cover, I thought I would only be captivated by the somewhat mysterious lifestyles of Orthodox Judaism. Parallel to learning about the Orthodox Yeshivas, I was delighted to see the author give the female characters in the book a raw, disturbing and truthful portrayal of women seeking relationships to numb their pain. It was also refreshing to have enough information about Alena’s disappearance, yet spared of any gory details.

The book made me think about not being swift to judge other’s behaviors. Sometimes what motivates us is too deep and hurtful to explain, we just try to start anew. I would recommend this book, for not only did I read something about a fascinating culture, but also about genuine human behavior.

11 comments:

Zibilee said...

I read an author interview on this book and thought it sounded good. This book has a few things in it that interest me, especially the information on Orthodox Judaism. I really liked your review, especially the fact that it's not too spoiler-y.

S. Krishna said...

This book sounds interesting. Thanks for the review!

H said...

Interesting that it takes place years after the main event. Great review.

susan said...

Lenore,

Great review. I'm interested in reading it for the very reasons you found it appealing. Adding it to my wish list and tbr.

Did you know March is Women's History Month? I'm adding this title to our recommended list for our Around The Globe Challenge at Color Online. I love WHM.

Come by. Always appreciate your feedback.

susan said...

Confused. So this was reviewed by Jen? Jen, thanks for the review.

Lenore said...

Hi Susan,

I moved the attribution to the top so maybe that's less confusing? Jen is helping me review some of my books in a timely manner!

bermudaonion said...

Great review. I love books that make me think about things like judging other people's behavior. I can't wait to read this one.

Alea said...

Oooh a guest reviewer! I'd love to learn more about Jen, unless you've already mentioned her and I'm totally being forgetful!

Serena said...

This is a book that has gotten a a lot of great reviews, and yours is no exception.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Stephanie said...

Wow, this sounds great! Thanks for the wonderful review.

Literary Feline said...

I was quite taken with this book when I read it. I am glad to see Jen liked it too!