Customer Reviews


54 Reviews
5 star:
 (26)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, brilliant writing and an insight into another world
Ronit, a young orthodox jewish woman from Hendon escapes her past and moves to New York where she does everything a orthodox jewish woman shouldn't - she wears trousers, has sex with people who aren't her husband - even someone else's, smokes and drinks. Her father, the rabbi, then dies and she returns to go to his funeral and she returns to everything she...
Published on 8 Mar 2006

versus
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but ultimately a little disappointing
I had high hopes for this when I picked it up in the bookshop but I was ultimately left slightly unsatisfied. Having said that, much of it was very good. The 3 main characters are all highly engaging and I found myself caring about them and their very different - and very complicated -lives. Ronit is the wayward ex-Orthodox daughter of an erudite (now dead) Rabbi. She...
Published on 24 Nov 2008 by Ms. E. Saunders


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, brilliant writing and an insight into another world, 8 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Disobedience (Hardcover)
Ronit, a young orthodox jewish woman from Hendon escapes her past and moves to New York where she does everything a orthodox jewish woman shouldn't - she wears trousers, has sex with people who aren't her husband - even someone else's, smokes and drinks. Her father, the rabbi, then dies and she returns to go to his funeral and she returns to everything she escaped from - the petty jealousies, the stifling community and also to a childhood sweetheart.
I loved this book - it provided an insight into a world and a religion that I knew very little about and I loved the characters and found it moving and engrossing.
It has been lauded as the next Brick Lane but I enjoyed it much more than Brick Lane as I found the characters less stereotypical and I loved the warm wit and the great writing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but ultimately a little disappointing, 24 Nov 2008
By 
Ms. E. Saunders (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Disobedience (Hardcover)
I had high hopes for this when I picked it up in the bookshop but I was ultimately left slightly unsatisfied. Having said that, much of it was very good. The 3 main characters are all highly engaging and I found myself caring about them and their very different - and very complicated -lives. Ronit is the wayward ex-Orthodox daughter of an erudite (now dead) Rabbi. She lives in NYC, and is a fully paid-up hedonist without even a nod to her former observant self. When her estranged father dies, however, she finds herself returning to all she scorns - namely the closed and judgemental world of the Orthodox Jewish Community in Hendon - and so rekindles past loves, friendships and rebellions. The 2 people who are caught in her orbit, past and present, are her cousin Dovid and her past lover Esti, now - shockingly - Dovid's wife. Dovid is diffident about filling the dead Rabbi's shoes and touchingly in love with his emotionally absent wife, who in turn believes she is still in love with Ronit......
Much of it, especially the complex inter-relationship between Ronit, Esti and Dovid, was beautifully done, and very engaging. There were also some laugh-out-loud moments, notably when Ronit gatecrashes a suffocatingly genteel Shabbat supper and scandalises everyone with her slit skirt and deliberately outrageous tales of lesbian loves and turkey basters.
But somehow something didn't quite add up. I found the introduction to each chapter - with a quote from the Bible/Torah/Jewish teachings irritating and alienating. I couldn't quite work out what they were there for - to show what Ronit was railing against? to cast light on a closed religion and its teachings? Hmmm. In the end I felt like I was at church being preached to, and found myself skipping them, which was obviously not what the author intended.
Nor did I find the denoument - Esti's moment of triumph - credible, much as I wanted to.
I suppose ultimately I found the characters were not quite complete. Perhaps the novel was too short, as I felt I was just getting to know them as it ended. When I put the book down I wasn't sure where Ronit was heading - or even Esti and Dovid - but maybe that was the point. I did enjoy the writing though, it was poetic without feeling self-conscious, and deeply felt. And sometimes very funny. I will be interested to read her next one...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens up a whole new world and delievers a compulsive read, 28 Feb 2006
This review is from: Disobedience (Hardcover)
This might not be what a forty-something bloke would normally read - a lesbian exploration of friendship and morality set in the heart of London's orthodox Jewish community - but I loved it. It is suffused with warmth, the characters feel fully formed, genuine and likeable, their dilemmas real. I felt I was getting an insight for another world, one packed with rigid religious rules alien to me, but also the sort of petty morality, gossip and bitchiness that are universal. Step aside Monica Ali and Brick Lane, it's time for north London to have its moment in the sun - and Disobedience in the book to do it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive Read, 10 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Disobedience (Hardcover)
This book is brilliant. The story-line is addictive - once you're past the first chapter you really do want to keep reading to find out what happens next.
I love the way each chapter has its own mini introduction explaining the background to the religious theme behind the story-line.
There are a couple of very tiny bits where you can predict the plot, but they don't ruin the story at all - in fact they make you want to read more to find out if you're right and also how it affects the story.
I think everyone should read this book - those who are even slightly open minded will love it because the religious aspects and lesbian parts won't worry them. Those who aren't open minded at all should read this book too to realise that this book shows how all people go through the same things - social acceptance issues, fitting in even amongst your own kind etc etc etc. It is a book everyone can relate to in their own way.
I think this will permanently be a favourite of mine!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perseverance is Required, 16 Nov 2007
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Disobedience (Paperback)
The book jacket compares Alderman to Zadie Smith. I think this is unfair to both authors and the readers. Smith has a knack for wry humour and a deep understanding of what it is to be an alien in your own country, yet there is a great affection for her characters and geography always present. Alderman has some of this, but it is much patchier and less defined than Smith's work. She also has other gifts which are overlooked by this sweeping comparison. Alderman deals with the essence of what it is to be Jewish, and how to relate someone's fragile sense of humanity to the permanent solidity of 'God'. This seems to me to be the ovearching theme of the book. Each chapter is headed with passages from Jewish scriptures which are then discussed in a kind of mini sermon. These are dynamic and very interesting. Where the book falls down, for me, is in the characterisation. The central characters, Ronit, Esti and Dovid, who are locked in a peculiar and sympathetic love triangle, are intriguing but seem quite shadowy, subsumed by the issues with which Alderman wrestles: how to remain true to orthodox Judaism in the modern world, exile, what it is to be a Jewish woman, what it is to be a lesbian and a Jewish woman. These are big questions and ideas in what is a fairly short book, and as such the book often comes across as fragmented and bitty. There is lots to admire, but this is not, to me, a finished work. I would definitely read more of her work, as I want to see how she progresses as a writer. She shows great promise.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not deep enough, 30 Nov 2009
This review is from: Disobedience (Paperback)
I enjoyed the book but felt it ended prematurely, there could have been more substance to it, more of a plot development, ended too quickly for me!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, interesting insight into a closed community, 13 Mar 2014
By 
R. K. Cole "Aging Gamer and Book Worm" (Stoke-on-Trent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Disobedience (Kindle Edition)
I read this after having heard Naomi on R4, and I wasn't disappointed. My main gripe is that it felt quite short - I have a lot of interest in other cultures that lie immediately alongside but rarely intersect my own, and I would have liked the author to have explored more around the actual fulfilment, as adult women with kids, of the girls that used to come top in science at school. I'd also liked to have found out more from Dovid's side (as a figure of male religious authority) regarding the reconciliation of Orthodox beliefs with contemporary non-Jewish social mores, given that the character said 'Excellent!' approvingly when Ronit confessed that she'd made something up just piss someone off. I know that it's a very insular community, but it can't be entirely hermetically sealed from a cultural perspective.

Also, any sympathy I had for the main protagonist was lost pretty much immediately after something that occurs towards the end - I won't say anything more, but I am curious whether I took this the way that it was intended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into Orthodox Jewish life., 26 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Disobedience (Paperback)
This novel showed the way of life of Orthodox Jews in North London from the point of view of someone who had rebelled against the restrictions, but who was still deeply emotionally involved with the people.
It was beautifully written, and both tragic and humorous. I would recommend it to anyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting insight, 8 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Disobedience (Kindle Edition)
It was a very accurate and complex woven within an insular yet seemingly modernizing community. It was a flowing read and Naomi presented the characters well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could do better, 9 Dec 2007
This review is from: Disobedience (Paperback)
A good first attempt, but sadly lacking brilliance. The idea of the book is excellent, and the character of, Ronit, engaging. Unfortunately, the other characters are misty and one-dimensional, and the plot a little uncertain in what it is trying to say. Another problem is the rather sweeping references to British Jews, as though this one particular sect epitomized the entirety of British Jewry. (No more daft than comparing the Wee Frees with all British Christianity.) It would be wrong to say this book was unenjoyable. There is certainly talent there. And perhaps these days we're too used to demanding a bestseller immediately from every writer who happens to be published. This author shows talent, and hopefully will learn from her mistakes and continue to grow.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Disobedience
Disobedience by Naomi Alderman (Paperback - 5 April 2007)
6.34
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews