Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Am Forbidden - Book Review

Josef is a young boy when he survives the massacre of his family in Transylvania during World War II. Hidden and raised by a non-Jewish woman for several years, Josef is eventually discovered by other Jews and sent to live with the Rebbe in New York City. Mila, a young Jewish girl is orphaned when her parents are brutally killed. She is taken in by another Jewish family and raised in Paris.

Thus begins I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits.

Eventually, Josef and Mila, Satmar Jews, will marry and entwine their lives together in New York. Their peace and security in this insular Hasidic sect is threatened by a secret they will keep for generations.

Markovits writing is abstract and illusive and at the beginning of the novel, my background with the history of Transylvania and Hungary during World War II was not significant enough for me to fully grasp what was happening. I did a little research on my own and found that it helped in the understanding of the novel.

It was not long into the novel before I was completely entranced by the story and characters. I couldn't put the novel down and I was literally weeping for Mila and her struggles with infertility, her desperate act and the ultimate consequences.

I Am Forbidden is a heart breaking novel that follows generations through pain, death, love and joy. While the novel opens a window on this intriguing and secluded group of people, the novel is ultimately about human desire which is, of course, universal.

** I received a free copy of I Am Forbidden in exchange for my honest review. No additional compensation was received. 

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