The Book of Separation

Ensconced since birth in Orthodox Judaism, Tova Mirvis reached an unexpected crossroads: she knew she couldn't stay in the community that had defined her life. Though it meant dismantling her marriage and uprooting her children's lives, she had to leave, but had no idea what that might mean. Mapping a new life felt "both exceedingly simple and impossibly out of reach."

Mirvis (Visible City) takes the reader on her journey, shifting among her childhood in Memphis, her college years in New York City and her life with her husband and children in the Boston area. At each stage, she reflects with stunning candor on the gap between the beliefs and rules she had received (and secretly questioned), and the more jagged reality of living in a complex world. She plumbs the idea of being "good" (the meaning of her name in Hebrew) and "bad," and wonders how to care for her children after voluntarily upending their existence. "Could you be who you really were and still be loved?" she asks, as she grapples with changing family relationships and makes room for her children's questions and fears. Mirvis's experience of Orthodox Judaism is vivid and particular, but her questions--about love and belonging, community and isolation, striking out into new soul terrain without a map--are universal.

Luminous, unsettling and fiercely brave, Mirvis's memoir insists on a simple but earth-shattering truth: "there are other ways to be." --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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