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HUSH by Eishes Chayil Kirkus Star


by Eishes Chayil

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2088-7
Publisher: Walker

Seventeen-year-old Gittel is preparing for marriage, and she hopes the shadchen, the matchmaker, picks a good husband. It's 2009 in this Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood, where Yiddish is a first language and women work so men can study Torah all day. But if Gittel lives in accordance with God's law, why can't she forget what happened when she was ten years old? Interleaved chapters of Gittel at ten and 17 reveal two heartbreaking stories: the sexual abuse and subsequent suicide of ten-year-old Gittel's best friend, and Gittel's wholly believable breakdown seven years later. The community had lied to the police about the abuse, believing that negative attention is a Chillul Hashem, a transgression of God's name. The shameful cover-up is only one of the aspects of Gittel's community condemned, but just as many are portrayed lovingly: the joy in God, in music, in family. This painful, respectful story of redemption is well worth delving into Yiddish-laden prose. No Chillul Hashem here, but gemilut hasadim and tikun olam: serving the dead in lovingkindness, repairing the world. (Fiction. YA)