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Predictable arranged-marriage soap opera,
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
This book tells the story of several interconnected women in an orthodox London Jewish community, through a combination of direct narrative and flashbacks. The eponymous subject of the book is a sheltered but, we are told, independent-minded, marriageable woman who is courted by a likewise sheltered rabbinical student. We are also told the back-story of the community rabbi and, in more detail, that of his wife.
For a book based on characters rather than events, it offers remarkably little emotional insight. A young, educated liberal/secular Jewish couple become the Rabbi and Rebbitzen of an orthodox community, but the book does not provide the slightest internal investigation of this extraordinary transformation. Chani Kaufman is described as having an unconventional streak, but the author does not illustrate this convincingly. The villain, the interfering mother-in law, is incongruously restrained and ineffective at even stalling the marriage. Throughout the book the prose is hackneyed and often cringeworthy.
This book also has a message, namely that people, and particularly women, will not be happy if they have children. This is illustrated relentlessly in the adult characters' back stories, in the thoughts of the female characters and in the detrimental effect young children have on the characters' relationships. My (future) progeny will be relieved to hear that I was not persuaded.