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Naomi and Her Daughters Hardcover – 17 Aug 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (17 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310327342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310327349
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,675,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Naomi and Her Daughters Master storyteller Wangerin, Jr. pens the historically accurate biblical tale of Naomi and Ruth. Contemporary echoes of love, deceit, war, and political instability will resonate with readers today, while rich descriptions and gritty realism cast new light on the ancient narrative.

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Format: Hardcover
I love the story of Naomi and Ruth, BUT I was actually confused and disappointed by this interpretation. The style of writing is very confusing - jumping from past to present (which is normally OK), but inserting other stories that have nothing to do with the main subject, had me at a loss. Also some of the language he uses in his descriptions I found to be inapproriate. Mr Wangerin's interpretation of the Naomi and Ruth story was very disappointing and his depiction of these popular characters I found to be very disturbing. I don't think I will be reading any more of his books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
An original take on a beloved biblical story 10 Oct 2010
By L. S. Jaszczak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his powerful and original retelling of the story in the book of Ruth, National Book Award winner Wangerin gives Ruth's mother-in-law Naomi, portrayed in the biblical story mainly as an unsympathetic character, embittered by tragedy and grief, a back story and a character that explains and justifies Ruth's devotion to her. The character of Boaz, the man who befriends Ruth and Naomi in their impoverished widowhood, is also given motivation and a past.

Moving back and forth over some thirty years, Wangerin never loses control of his narrative and paints a portrait of an entire society, effortlessly weaving in other biblical stories and poetry from the Psalms and the Song of Songs, particularly through the chants and musings of Naomi, who is portrayed as a hakamah, a wise woman, healer and storyteller in her native village of Bethlehem.

Naomi and her Daughters is sure to deepen any reader's appreciation of the book of Ruth and the world in which it is set.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Proves Truth is More Fascinating Than Fiction. 30 Oct 2010
By Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel is mainly a fictionalized expansion of the actual verses (italicized) of Judges 18-21 and all of Ruth. It goes from 11 years before Judges 18 at a fictionalized meeting between Naomi when she is 22 and when the woman mentioned in Judges 18 is 5 years old to all the way to Samuel 16 when Ruth's great grandson David is anointed to be the future 2nd king of Israel through whose line the Savior would be born. There are scripture quotations and histories interspersed in from the other books preceding Judges (from Genesis on wards) as well as poetic allusions to Psalms and Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). Using the plot device of Boaz wandering in a self inflicted exile pilgrimage of the lands surrounding the Israelites you get to know the origins of the other various Abrahamic connected people who neighbor the Israelites. Boaz also reflects on the Judaic traditions of his people as he visits the historical sites where events happened to precede such traditions. The whole book was a enlightening exposition on ancient Judaic traditions that they followed blindly to the letter of the law ignoring the spirit of the law which sometimes resulted in shocking tragic decisions and consequences. I read a heavily footnoted and extra study guide information paneled Bible printing of Judges 18 to 21 and Ruth before starting to read the novel because of the foreknowledge given in a prior review that the novel was based on those scriptures. This novel matched the verses, educational footnotes, and study guide panels of the Bible I read in storyline and Judaic traditions. The most shocking, profane, sexual, and violent parts of this novel that would seem most likely to be fictionalized were the very parts that came straight from the Old Testament (Tanakh) verses. Let's face it if the Old Testament (Tanakh) was made into a series of movies that closely followed the actual Bible then they would be rated R to X unfortunately. Some other reviewers mentioned profanity, but the only profanity I found was that the kin that was closer in relation to marry Ruth was a called a brass (profane word for backside) by the community and a (profane word for expulsion of gas from backside) by Naomi. The author could not have so accurately have followed the actual scriptures, and G rated Walt Disneyfied the story, but in chapter 42 through the voice of Naomi you understand why he doesn't. Naomi has decided as the Hakamah who passes on and records through oral tradition the history of God's people, the covenants God establishes with his people, and revelations made to this people, that the history "shall not be abridged" and "distorted, cowled in a consoling lie". I will paraphrase her argument. She decides that if she doesn't accurately describe the entire preceding events that caused the war between Israel and Benjamin, and the horrors done on both sides during the war (instead of romanticizing the war) that history can repeat itself. That if she doesn't show that bad things happen to relatively good Godly people, "that the present generation would always be baffled, would grow angry or frightened, because [the] torn bits of story could no longer embrace and name their [own] real, full, unhappy [life] experiences". That characters without some mortal weakness become legends that can be dismissed easily as not authentic "and become contemptible in the eyes of the enlightened". These false histories than make "God himself, the true God...considered to be [only] ancient empty ritual" and "that without hard histories...there would be no [God] and all the people would do what was right in their own eyes".
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Drawing you into the story of Naomi and Ruth 6 Oct 2010
By Jenni M. Parks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Many Christian readers are already familiar with the story of Naomi and Ruth. It's often touted as one of the most beautiful stories of friendship in the bible. The sad recounting of the Levite who gives over his wife to the sex crazed mob in the book of Judges to protect himself is also known to most readers although structurally these story lines are presented as unrelated in scripture. Wangerin weaves them together brilliantly in `Naomi and her Daughters', providing a back story of events in Naomi's life that propel her and Ruth together on a journey to Bethlehem.

Throughout the novel, Wangerin uses an italicized typeface whenever he directly quotes the bible. This is helpful for the reader to discern Wangerin's beautiful fictionalized embellishments from what's been lifted out of the Word of God "as-is".

Fictionalized accounts of historical events prove justice to their story when they draw interest so severely that the reader is provoked to research the story further. Wangerin accomplishes this with ease and I repeatedly compared his account of the events of that time against what is recorded in Judges and Ruth, finding it to be accurate in essence. Wangerin forces his readers to consider these historic events from a new perspective, personalizing the characters in a way that leads us to identify with them; to care for them; to realize the similarities of character that persist in man throughout the span of generations and geography.

From the beginning, Naomi is presented as utterly practical and wise. In chapter three she tells her son (who is heading off to war against the tribe of Benjamin) that she won't cry for him but will consider him dead until she hears he has come through the battle alive. And when the civil war seems to be lost despite God's urging that the men aligned against Benjamin continue, she reflects on the matter-of-fact truth that at that point God had simply told his people to go up against the tribe of Benjamin in battle; he had not ever promised it was to be their fortune to win. Still, she is balanced in character with a nurturing love for others. After her return to Bethlehem with Ruth she sets in motion a resourceful plan to provide for Ruth's future and her family's legacy. She also tends to one who is extremely undeserving, showing grace and mercy.

Wangerin is able to illustrate how the people of God in that time are fixed in their resolve in a way that baffles modern mindsets. They stand beside their traditions to honor and protect male house guests even though innocents will be brutally sacrificed by the action. They stand by their fields to harvest even though they are consumed with worry for their men who have gone off to war (Chapter 5, pg 36). They stand by their oaths made before the Lord, even though they were made in angry haste and will bring great pain to themselves or thousands of others. In this way, parts of the novel that seem to be the most unbelievable are actually the most representative of the corresponding passages in Judges and Ruth. As if in response to our suspect disbelief in such foreign reasoning, Wangerin gives these words to Naomi in Chapter 42, where Naomi is expressing the importance of recording and recounting her stories and what could happen if they are discarded: "God will be lost. People will think that love is all - a kindly, grandfatherly love. They will build their idols along the lines of niceness. Mercy, compassion. Not death. Not the requirements of covenants."

Perhaps the most well written chapter is number 38, within which Wangerin places the reader right alongside Ruth as she steps out bravely to embrace her destiny. Her trembling fear as she completes a daring and irreversible act that places everything at risk; her joy in the risk rewarded - these feelings easily transfer onto the reader who cannot help but be moved by the raw emotions of the scene.

Overall a great novel that spurs the reader to not only open the bible for a rereading of the corresponding passages but also Wangerin's other published pieces.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Naomi and Her Daughters 15 Nov 2010
By ReviewsCurtasia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First let me tell you two things: 1) I didn't read the description above very well the first time, just skimmed it, and was excited about hearing a good story about Naomi,Ruth, and Boaz. 2) I didn't finish the book, and I'll tell you why.
1. The story was very 'broken' in my opinion, most scenes jumped very quickly, making it hard to keep track of what time frame you are in, and who you are with.
2. There were some very vivid descriptions from a birthing room. . . (Naomi "checking" the mother is given in detail-if you don't understand that, ask a mom what I mean)
3. Boaz is portrayed as a hotheaded teen (in earlier mentioned birthing scene). Let me explain why this bothered me. It has nothing to do with expecting bible characters to be perfect, because we all know that Christ was the only perfect human. But, Boaz is called the kinsman redeemer (an example to the old testament people of what our kinsman redeemer would be like) and because the Bible doesn't give us anymore details on Boaz's character, I think it would be best to leave his image a positive one, not perfect, but positive, because he is an old testament example of Christ.

So, my main reason for not finishing this book was his 'vivid descriptions', but the artistic license that the author took cemented my lack of desire to finish this book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Naomi and her Daughters by Walter Wangerin Jr. 20 Oct 2010
By Renee K - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Naomi and her Daughters by Walter Wangerin Jr. This is a novel based on the story of Naomi and other men and women from the book of Ruth. The book goes from past to present in each chapter. Slowly building on each other to tie it together in the end.

The book starts off from the book of Judges 19, 20, and 21. When the eleven tribes of Israel go to war against the tribe of Benjamin over a murder of a young women. Wagerin creates a fictional women Milcah, who Naomi has sort of adopted and loves her as her own daughter. She trains her in the ways of healing with herbs, and as a mid-wife.

Drought forces Naomi and her family to leave Bethlehem to sojourn in a foreign land. During the ten years away from the beloved Bethlehem Naomi loses her husband and two sons. Naomi returns to Bethlehem bitter and angry with her God after her loved ones have died. Ruth's compassion and love for her mother-in-law slowly bring the joy back to the grieving Naomi.

This book is filled with lots of scriptures and it paints a vivid picture of the historical details for the time period which the book of Judges and Ruth where written. I love how the book of Psalms is weaved into the book. Wangerin makes the book very poetic through out the novel in a sing song style. It actually makes the book feel more real.

If you are not one who cares to read about the details of war, death, and hideous crimes then this may not be a book for you. If you have teenagers who love historical books then a warning to pre-read it beforehand if you feel that it may upset them. I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it. The author did take some liberty in the details of the characters in the novel. Not all I would agree with but I still enjoyed the book.

Disclaimer: I provided an advanced reader copy of this book from Zondervan for free in order to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and were not subject to editing from the publisher.
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