Hush: Book Review by Allison T.
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 stars
Source: County Library
Buy the Book: amazon.com
Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands
of years before down to the last detail and abuse has never been a part of it.
But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has
suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try
to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain
silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and
horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past,
and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.
This book was so interesting and it was almost like a breath of fresh air compared to all of the other books that I have been reading lately. I think the thing that drew me into the story most was how the book was separated into the past and the present. I would get to read about Gittel as a child, teenager, and adult. This helped to explain the story a bit better and made it have more depth. If Hush had only depicted Gittel as an adult, then I would never have known how she felt when she saw Devory, her best friend, hanging in the bathroom, dead.
Eishes Chayil (a pseudonym for "woman of strong valor") is a wonderful writer. She showed me a world completely different from mine. In the Chassidic community, everything is a lot more strict. This meant that even though Devory killed herself because she got raped, no one wanted to alert the news or draw any attention to the story. Hush opened my eyes to a different lifestyle of arranged marriages and not getting to watch any television.
Kathy, Gittel's friend, was very funny and insightful. Even though she was different, Gittel still loved her for who she was. Kathy let Gitel watch t.v. even though she wasn't allowed to and came to her wedding later on
Gittel was a great character that had many dimensions because of her refusal to let Devory's tragic story go untold. At times, she was hilarious, and at other times, she was wise. I think that she was very realistic.
The last thing that I thought was well done was the Jewish terms. Since I'm not Jewish (Christian), I felt that the glossary at the back of the book was very helpful. Also, if I was too lazy to flip all the way to the back, most terms were explained right on the page.
I gave this book only 4 stars because the writing was a bit confusing at times. It was hard to tell what just happened in some parts. Finally, the ending was a bit too perfect. I would have liked to know what happened to Gittel afterwards.
I advise everyone to read this book, even adults. Hush brings a challenging reality to the forefront. Even though something horrible is going on, families or communities will still hide the truth. But, no one can forget things as tragic as rape or suicide. It is a bit more challenging but very good for anyone who is interested in tough issues such as sexual abuse. I give Hush 4 stars.