Book Review – Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

By Deborah Feldman

Deborah Feldman grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the Samtar sect of Hasidic Judaism, a highly secretive ultra-orthodox community. Deborah was raised by her grandparents after her parents’ marriage failed and her mother left the community. In her memoir, Ms Feldman tells her story of her upbringing in this very restrictive, conservative world and her eventual marriage, as a young teen, to a man she hardly knew. Her curiosity at the outside world leads to her eventual departure from the community.

Ms Feldman’s story was compelling from the first to the last and provided fascinating insight into a world outsiders rarely get to see. This book is a beautiful telling of an emotional story. Ms Feldman’s description of the matchmaking process, of this particular sect, that led up to her marriage to a man she was only alone with once or twice was really interesting. It’s unfortunate this book was met with so much controversy. I would encourage the reader to look past many of their reviews and formulate their own opinions.

Since reading this book, I’ve also had the opportunity to watch the Netflix original series by the same title. The series was inspired by the book but does not follow the same story line. Still, it is very well done and a recommended watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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5 Comments on “Book Review – Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots”

  1. Do you think the criticism came from people that lived in that community? I don’t know but guessing. Also, wondering why the Netflix didn’t follow the book? It sounds like a great book that I would enjoy. Thanks for reviewing.

    • It did come from others within her community. From what I understand, there were some who didn’t appreciate such a personal story being made public. According to the “making of” portion of the series, they chose to fictionalize certain parts of Ms. Feldman’s story because it was so personal. Thank you for reading!

  2. Hey! guess what, am watching the Netflix show right now but when you said it dint follow everything in the book i feel i should have read the book first.

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