Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: Loving Rabbi Thalia

Oy vey, I'm so remiss in posting this review. I received the book a long time ago and my deepest apologies for how long it's taken me to review it!

Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman: Sex and Romance in God's House, by Gary Morgenstein, is a pretty unique book. First off, there aren't so many books about female rabbis, so I was intrigued. (Actually, there aren't so many books with realistic portrayals of any rabbis, but I digress.) Second, the story lines are a twisty, funny, and a little off-kilter.

The characters are very honest and real, their faults and foibles are displayed for all to see. I must admit to being a little disappointed in the character of Rabbi Kleinman herself, she seemed to lack spirituality and depth. Perhaps this is because I was hoping to identify with the title character and couldn't find much to share with her. I'd be curious if any of my colleagues (particularly the female ones) would find some more identifying characteristics than I did.

I had to push myself to read the whole way through, however, I think because so many of the characters were, to me, unlikable, and living unlikable lives. They were well-portrayed but their heartbreak was a little too much for me.

Thank you to Gary Morgenstein for the review copy of the book! Want to read it? Leave a comment here and at the end of the week, I'll give it away to one lucky reader. Check out the Jew Wishes review, also - I think she liked it a little better than I did.

I think I prefered Jonathan Rosen's female rabbi to Gary Morgenstein's....can anyone tell me of any other books with female rabbis as the protagonist? Check out this interesting article also.


Jew Wishes said...

Great review, Phyllis.

It is definitely a unique book. I found it to be geared more toward male readers.

Thanks for the link.

mother in israel said...

I really liked Jonathan Rosen's book.

The article didn't mention a book I read, probably because it's British, about the rabbinical matriarch of a dysfunctional family. It culminates with a Pesach Seder where all of the family relationships are hashed out. I don't recommend it, maybe my husband can remember the name.

Rivster said...

I LOVED the protagonist in "Joy Comes in Morning"!!! And I wrote to Mr. Rosen and told him so. And he wrote back a very lovely note in response ;)

shk42 said...

Unlikable people, leading unlikable lives, full of well-portrayed heartbreak...sounds right up my alley. Guess Who?