Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Review, A Discussion, Call it what you will..

I recently had the pleasure of participating in the Silicon Valley Moms Blog Book Club, I am part of their NJ Mom's blog (<~~~see link over there). The book we read was "Who by Fire" by Diana Spechler . This book had me at hello. The author starts the action in the prologue, adds twists and turns and ends with a finale. Just like a great action flick.

The novel centers around Bits, a young woman, who must travel to Israel to "rescue" her brother, Ash, from living the life of an Orthodox Jew. She is traveling there under the premise to bring him home to attend the funeral of their little sister who was kidnapped 13 yrs earlier. Both children feel the guilt of allowing that to happen. Their mother is an expert at giving "Jewish guilt."

Have I experienced "Jewish guilt?" No, I was raised by an Irish LDS mother, in a prodominantly Jewish town, who knew how to throw guilt with the best of them. Try that on for size!

Bits & Ash's mother wants her children home, where she can keep an eye on them & "keep them safe." I can definitely relate to that. As mom to 3 boys I want to keep them all safe 110% of the time. I want to know where they are and feel that only I can make sure they are taken care of to the nines. Sure, their dad is capable and he did a great job raising the older two til we got together in 2006 (as did their mother...she is a very good mom!!) I just feel that when they are with me, it's my responsibility to maintain their well being.

Bits & Ash's mother feels so strongly that she hires a man to help her get her son back from what she considers a cult. Would I do this? In a heartbeat. Do I support alternative religions? strict religions? Yes. Do I agree that religions are a cult? No. Being LDS I have often been referred to as being part of a cult. My reply to that is gather your information before you make such a remark. If I truely thought my child was a member of a cult, I would be on the first plane to find said child, do whatever I have to do to drag his tushie home! The same as the mother in the story. She is doing what she feels necessary and having some much needed "fun" along the way (to find out the fun, read the book!!).

"Who By Fire" is one book that will surprise the reader. Diana Spechler keeps the story going with ups, downs, twists, turns. She tells each family members story with great detail without making it boring. Having the mother as the protaganist allows for the tale to flow like a smooth river in the depths of Autumn. It also lets the reader in on a lifestyle/religion that many are not privy too while not preaching about it. Hard to do but Diana Spechler does it with ease.

So take my advice and read this book. Read it from a parent's perspective, read it from a child's perspective, read it from a siblings perspective, just read it! You will not be disappointed!!!

Woops out.



Wow you are a good book reviewer! The book sounds interesting!


my daughter is a wonderful reviewer and writer in general. not so much as a writer of a note to her mother to see if she's alright. does she tell me "the nana" how good this book is? no i have to read about it on her BLOG. not that i'm saying anything.....oy


I'm so glad you liked my book, Meghan! I like your assessment that people need to "gather information" before they start throwing around the word "cult". It's true (isn't it?) that people on the outside see things very differently from the way people on the inside see them. In large part, that's what Who By Fire is about.
And Meghan's are funny!
-Diana (the author)

Queen B.

I just finished Out-takes of a marriage by Ann Leary.........I recommend that also. This book sounds great..........


This sounds like a great book - and you write for the NJ Moms blog? Lucky you!