Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despairingly realistic
"The Elected Member" is the story of Norman, a mentally disturbed high-achiever in a close-knit Jewish family confined to a mental institution when his family feel they can no longer cope, and it is sensational in its achievements. It is written in such a way as to involve the reader to the highest possible degree, making him cry, laugh, and experience all the...
Published on 11 Dec 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars 'two sad unmarried daughters...and in another room his broken son'
The elected member of this novel is Norman Zweck, the cherished, high-achieving son of a Jewish family in 1960s London. But the book opens with him addicted to amphetamines, his legal career in tatters as he hallucinates.
His experiences in a mental hospital unfold and with them we come to understand how he got to this point; family secrets and a tragedy that scarred...
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by sally tarbox


Most Helpful First | Newest First

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despairingly realistic, 11 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Elected Member (Paperback)
"The Elected Member" is the story of Norman, a mentally disturbed high-achiever in a close-knit Jewish family confined to a mental institution when his family feel they can no longer cope, and it is sensational in its achievements. It is written in such a way as to involve the reader to the highest possible degree, making him cry, laugh, and experience all the devestating emotions of the characters about which he is reading. The problems and situations it presents are for many easy to identify with, making it a book that is painful to read at the same time as being, for this very reason, impossible to put down. It is Rubens's style - pure storytelling - that makes the book so effective. Lack of too-involved description or her own opinions makes us focus on her subject instead, which is, of course, the most important thing, and the portrayal of her characters and their various reactions to Norman's illness as they face up to their own involvement with it is probably more believable than anything else I have ever read that it almost seems autobiographical.
This is a superb book, the author having gone almost too far into such a taboo issue as mental illness and the culpability of the family of the sick member. I felt guilt, I felt sadness, I felt despair...then I read it all over again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, 1 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elected Member (Paperback)
The book was easy to read and not knowing anything about Jewish culture was a good introduction, although I did have to research some of the Hebrew terms used. The story centres around mental health and drug issues in a dysfunctional family, asking you to question what is acceptable. The characters are all accessible and whilst not all are likeable, you can at least understand their motivation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars 'two sad unmarried daughters...and in another room his broken son', 21 Jun 2012
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Elected Member (Paperback)
The elected member of this novel is Norman Zweck, the cherished, high-achieving son of a Jewish family in 1960s London. But the book opens with him addicted to amphetamines, his legal career in tatters as he hallucinates.
His experiences in a mental hospital unfold and with them we come to understand how he got to this point; family secrets and a tragedy that scarred him for life.
Both moving and humourous, this is an interesting and unique work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars 'It's raining outside', 29 May 2012
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elected Member (Paperback)
The second Booker Prize winner is a novel about a Jewish family, the Zwecks, whose patriarch is a Lithuanian immigrant. The story not surprisingly comes with all the Jewish paraphernalia you would expect, including exclamations such as 'Oi', but has universal themes and is easy for anyone to relate to.

At the centre of the story is forty year old son Norman, whose descent from gifted, multi-lingual barrister to institutionalised drug addict is symbolic of the family's fortunes. The family's history unfolds while each member tries to come to terms with Norman's problems. There is the elderly father, as apparently naive as the day he stepped off the ship, his late wife who twists reality, the spinster daughter Bella who still wears the white socks of her childhood, and the outcast younger sister Esther who did marry. Their individual stories and guilt or lack thereof combine to make for a sad tale which is nevertheless shot through with humour.

Some of Norman's fellow inmates contribute to the story, particularly the drug pushing, self-styled 'Minister of 'ealth'. The reader's sympathies tend to shift with each revelation. Not a long novel, 'The Elected Member' is cetainly a worthwhile read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best., 11 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Elected Member (Paperback)
This was not one of bernice rubens` best in my opinion. I found it rather drawn out and oppressive, and could have put it down at any point - and almost did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite, 29 May 2003
This review is from: The Elected Member (Paperback)
A bit more difficult than her other books it nevertheless shows a very interesting situation. Solid work!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Elected Member
The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens (Paperback - 1 Jan 1988)
9.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews