Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wherever You Go ~ Book Review
So I started reading Wherever You Go, by Joan Leegant, a day or so ago. And I finished it last night.
I really loved this book. It was such a good read. It was a splash of current events, a touch of romance (minimal, but just enough), a lot of family relations and a struggle with religious beliefs and observances.
Ms. Leegant contacted me via email regarding reading and reviewing her book. I took a moment to read the synopsis and I wanted in. I knew I wouldn't have the time to read it straight away, and in fact, it's taken me a little bit longer than I planned to get to it, but because of the subject matter I knew I had to be ready. And when I was I flew through this read. I've already recommended it to my aunt, as she is always looking for great books to read that have some historical flavor.
Flavor is weird to say when talking about a book, but this wasn't historical fiction. It wasn't true current events. Though it certainly could have been. So it encompassed history and current day in Israel as I'd anticipate things being. But she brought me her love of the country, and refreshed my desire to get there someday.
My dad spent two very early years of his life there. He went back once, I believe. I had an opportunity to look into going there after high school but he said no. I forgive him for that. It wasn't safe. But will it ever be in my lifetime? I know I want to go. I also know I wouldn't bring my daughter at her young age. But I'll get there. Someday.
But back to the book. Sorry - I had to tangent. This book brought out a lot of things for me, but most importantly showed me so much of the characters who struggled with their relationships. Relationships with family, friends, yes. But relationships with their religion, as well. It's a struggle so many people experience beyond what any of us know. I think the author hit the nail on the head with how she described it. She walked us through the three primary characters and their experiences in a way that helped us relate.
I will say that of the three primary characters, the one aspect of this book I engaged in the least was with the character of Aaron. Now, when you read the book you'll think you know why, but it was more that his setting seemed out of place. Ultimately I get it. I know why he was there, and the people around him were. He ties it all together. But some of the pages of his earlier story were confusing, a bit off for me. And his ending leaves me hanging a bit. But it's supposed to. We're supposed to use him as the tie to connect Yona and Mark. In an unpredictable way (which is one of the best parts of the book, I think. I love the unexpected!).
Overall, so as not to end up giving too much away, I definitely enjoyed this read. I recommend it to those who like historical fiction, stories about Judaism or even simply enough to someone looking for books set outside of the day-to-day of the US. This was a strong work, and I thank Ms. Leegant for the opportunity to read it. I hope you'll decide to do the same.
* This book was provided to me by the author. I was not compensated for the review and all opinions expressed are completely my own. Photo was borrowed from joanleegant.com and I hope the author doesn't mind!*