Book Review: Uri Full of Light

By: Holly Sortland

Uri Geller is a high school junior, trying to adapt to life in South Dakota when his father chose to take a job in the local hospital, transferring his family from their Modern Orthodox community in Pennsylvania. It’s a challenging transition for him but all of that changed when he met Hannah Hagen at a football game, in 1996.

Hannah has her own challenges, coping with life with her terminally ill father and trying to get past a toxic relationship with her ex-boyfriend. Hannah becomes curious about Uri’s faith and cultural traditions. Eventually presenting her with a choice. Convert or lose her high school sweetheart.

Hannah completes her conversion, relocating to Uri’s hometown in Pennsylvania in order to assimilate into the Modern Orthodox community while Uri serves in the Israeli Defense Force. The two decide to begin their married life in Israeli during the terrorist bombings in the early 2000s.

This is Holly Sortland’s debut novel and I can’t wait to read more from her. Uri Full of Light is a moving and emotional story of love and loss. I appreciated the depiction of Uri’s life in South Dakota, trying to fit in in a secular school while still trying to maintain his observance of his faith. The relationship is between Uri and Hannah is truly heartwarming in its innocence.

I found the description of Hannah’s conversion experience very relatable. It’s a deeply personal journey that can be incredibly lonely as a person straddles two worlds, not feeling like she was really quite Jewish yet but not who she used to be either. I got goosebumps reading of Hannah’s mikvah experience.

Sortland creates an accurate image of the Jewish cultural experience in America while also tying in a difficult period in Israeli history.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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An Interview with the Author:

An Interview with Holly Sortland

Holly Sortland’s debut novel, Uri Full of Light, is now available on Kindle and in paperback, on Amazon. It’s on my current reading list. Check back next week for my review. Q: Can you sum up Uri Full of Light in 20 words or less? Uri Full of Light is a story about a conversion, […]

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