When life is at its best, the unimaginable can shatter everything you think you know... Abigail Samuels has no reason to feel anything but joy on the morning her life falls apart. The epitome of the successful Jewish American woman, she is married to a well-known and respected accountant and is in the middle of planning her daughter Kayla's wedding. Kayla, too, wakes up that morning with the world in the palm of her hand. Having lived the charmed life of a well-loved child from a happy family, she is bright, pretty, a Harvard law student who has never really questioned the path she found herself on.
With a shocking suddenness, all that is smashed to pieces in ways they could never have dreamed. When a heartbroken Kayla runs away to a desert commune run by a charismatic mystic, Abigail rushes to save her, only to find that there is nothing more whole than a broken heart.
©2010 Naomi Ragen (P)2010 Tantor
"A page-turner illustrating the horrifying consequences of becoming embroiled in the American legal system." (Kirkus Reviews)
This book is the fictional romance novel version of "Eat, Pray. Love". People have personal disasters or just become disaffected and escape to a spiritual retreat in the desert. It's just hard to believe that after one of the main characters escapes her privileged life and successful, upscale fianc??, she jumps right into a relationship with his spiritually upgraded version. The second boyfriend's a doctor but has removed himself from the real world of commerce, so he's already played the game and scorns it. But other than that clich??, the book has a lot going for it, and not everyone ends up winning a prize. Living with less has hit the mainstream and it's now cool to shun the big city world of finance, 6-7 figure incomes, lavish parties and epic vacations and rent a little studio apartment in a Middle Eastern city, though I applaud the fact that the other main character chooses not to return to her pre-disaster life and sets up shop in a more, supposedly, "real" environment. I just wish stories like this weren't presented as panacea, as though the people living in retreat are somehow more evolved or "better than" the regular people back home who are just holding down jobs, raising families, and trying to carve out some personal idea of success. This story gives a "been there done that" quality to real life, when in fact it's possible to grow spiritually or to become "enlightened" - whatever your personal definition of that is - right where you are right now.
But having said that, the book was refreshingly entertaining and I liked the purposeful vagueness of the various spiritual quests - sort of "ideology lite". This book piqued my curiosity for the road less travelled.
I was a Naomi Ragen fan until this book, but this one is not just flat and lacking in depth, it's poorly written, too. The dialogue made me cringe several times; I could barely finish the novel.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
I found this book captured me from the very beginning. The characters were well-developed and I could almost visualize them. The only thing I found disconcerting was the dramatic change in Abigail- I could handle the fact that she embraced life in the "commune" but the ending was disappointing in that I felt she deserted her husband. Perhaps the message was that her whole life was about pleasing other people and she now felt she no longer had to satisfy anyone but herself. Personal growth to be sure, but a weird ending to an otherwise engaging book.
story with israel as the backdrop. I loved every minute of it and when the mom decides to stay in Israel, I wished I could have been there with her.
First the daughter makes a stand and then the mom surprisingly takes her place.
Yes it made me sad, then I laughed.
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