Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, a fundamentalist sect of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. As the daughter of an influential rabbi, Leah and her ten siblings were raised to worship two things: God and the men who ruled their world. But the tradition-bound future Leah envisioned for herself was cut short when, at sixteen, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend, a violation of religious law that forbids contact between members of the opposite sex. Leah's parents were unforgiving.
Afraid, in part, that her behavior would affect the marriage prospects of their other children, they put her on a plane and cut off ties. Cast out in New York City, without a father or husband tethering her to the Orthodox community, Leah was unprepared to navigate the freedoms of secular life. She spent the next few years using her sexuality as a way of attracting the male approval she had been conditioned to seek out as a child, while becoming increasingly unfaithful to the religious dogma of her past.
Fast-paced, mesmerizing, and brutally honest, Cut Me Loose tells the story of one woman's harrowing struggle to define herself as an individual. Through Leah's eyes, we confront not only the oppressive world of religious fundamentalism, but also the broader issues that face even the most secular young women as they grapple with sexuality and identity.
©2014 Leah Vincent (P)2014 Tantor
The first half of this book was great. Leah tells her story well, adding details that make it interesting and make you really root for her. As she makes her way out on her own, you can see the mistakes she's about to make and you want to help her. It's a great roller coaster ride as you grow up with her.
After about 2/3's of the book though, it fell apart for me. I just didn't care anymore about how she became more and more pathetic. In one scene with her and her dad, I completing agreed with everything her dad said to her, and I think the reader (listener) was supposed to be appalled by it.
I think I might have sympathized with her more if she'd told more of her story than just the sex. She became very one-dimensional and that dimension was a simpering, shallow sycophant. If she'd talked more about her job, how and why she got a promotion, or describe the neighborhoods she lived in, anything to add another facet then just sex.
The narrator didn't help with the "simpering" part. I was so tired of her whining that I almost didn't finish the book. I saw that I had only one hour left and I decided to push through. But by the ending, I truly didn't care at all what happened to her. I know it sounds harsh, but I was disappointed, especially since I'd been so drawn in by the first half of her story.
I do not recommend this book.
I would read another Leah Vincent book. I found her prose engaging and smooth. I would never listen to an Emily Durante narration. While her voice is pleasant, she turned this book into a farce.
I enjoyed this story, and found it hard to stop listening at times. I have a Jewish background, and am familiar enough with the Haredi community to know that it is true-to-life. Vincent's determination and struggle were inspiring, and her pain was made palpable.
However, the voice narrating was all wrong. The fake accents and fake male voices made even deadly serious scenes seems cartoonish. Her rendering of the author's timidity in a breathy, whiny voice made the author seem annoying and unlikeable. Just terrible and should be re-recorded in Vincent's own voice.
This was a great book, but it was frustrating that the reader mispronounced even the most basic of Hebrew terms, including the name of a major character. It really took away from the story. But otherwise, it was a solid performance and a good read.
This is a hard listen. As the mother of a beautiful, talented, intelligent daughter-- I cannot even begin to understand what madness her parents were enveloped by-- that would allow them to reject their daughter. Abandon her first in Israel and again in New York City.
It is child abuse masquerading as religious devotion.
Good for her that survived.
Her parents. I'm not sure I would ever find it in me to forgive them...
A powerful book, a powerful story.
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