Hush: a Short Book Review

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Hush by Eishes Chayil is a novel for young adults about sexual abuse in the Hassidic community of Boro Park. The story is told from the point of view of Gittel who – as a child – witnessed her best friend being abused. The narrative goes back and forth between the child-Gittel and the teenager who is about to get married.

This novel is quite subtle in that it is not a downright criticism of ultra-Orthodox Judaism but of the cover-up of such stories. Thus the guilty brother is sent to Israel and the narrator is prevented from testifying by her own mother. The narrator’s father is a complex character who obviously loves his daughter but fails to help her when she most needs it.

It is a powerful novel and one which stays with you for a long time after you have read the last page.

More thorough reviews:
Rabbi Fink’s review
Velveteen Rabbi’s review

A very poignant post: A Note From a Victim of Abuse