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Publisher's Summary

In a cramped synagogue in north-west London, the eminent elderly rabbi passes away. On the other side of the Atlantic, his estranged daughter, Ronit, hears of her father's death and returns to London for the funeral. She has not returned home in 15 years.

Ronit looks forward to a week or two of revisiting old friends, perhaps settling old scores. But she finds the community she grew up in a more confusing place than she'd anticipated. Particularly when she is unexpectedly reunited with Esti, her childhood sweetheart, who has taken a very different path in life....

Disobedience is a hugely enjoyable and warm-hearted portrayal of characters caught between two worlds, and a wise exploration of sexuality, tolerance and faith.

©2006 Naomi Alderman (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A bold comic touch.... Like Brick Lane, offering a glimpse of a closeted and surprisingly English nook of British society." ( Observer)
"A fresh, feisty peek at the hidden world of London’s Orthodox Jewish Community." ( The Independent)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    54
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    51
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    82
  • 4 Stars
    29
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    10
  • 2 Stars
    4
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    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    52
  • 4 Stars
    42
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    20
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Overall it was ok, I guess... Not really.

This story had so much potential, but unfortunately the narrative went, in my opinion as a gay woman, in a homophobic direction. That whole speech about desiring someone of the same gender is ok as as long as you don't act on it is harmful. It would have been fine it had been addressed as so, but it isn't, too many questions remained unanswered by end but that might be just me, I hope they tweak a few things in the adaptation to the big screen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Interesting but misguided

I found the ruminations on Orthodox Judaism insightful but I feel like the author was trying to write two books in one and the ruminating took me out of the story. Also, using homosexuality as a tool for this rumination is misguided, I understand what the author was trying to say but her attempt leads me to believe that she has no idea of how being gay actually works. It's borderline offensive.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

Would you consider the audio edition of Disobedience to be better than the print version?

I haven't seen the print version so I wouldn't be able to tell that.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Disobedience?

Every detail about the jewish religion were my favorite parts.

Which scene was your favorite?

So many that it would be hard to tell.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did that actually.

Any additional comments?

Didn't like the end too much, I was expecting something different but loved the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Orthodox Jewish Women

Would you listen to Disobedience again? Why?

Yes, need to understand what the author is going through as a modern Jewish Women.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I liked the end. It reflected how I felt as a Jewish Women in America in the 20th Century.

Have you listened to any of Rachel Atkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The Hebrew pronunciation of many words was incorrect and that bothered me. If you don’t know Hebrew you would enjoy her British accent. The author is British make it more meaningful to use this narrator.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved by her decision about being a Jew and/or a lesbian. She is bi-sexual but explains that unlike African Americans, Jews and Lesbians can choose to ignore their differences and keep others from knowing they are different. This may cause some from feeling isolated but know one questions their behavior. One must admit to being different.

Any additional comments?

It is important to know where you come from and where you are going in America. This seems to be the message the author is communicating to all readers. Be yourself!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!

Good story with great character development. One of the best narrations I have ever heard!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

For anyone who struggles with formal religion

3 main characters struggle with identity and desire in a close knit orthodox community. They each transition to different and yet reasonable places . The triggering event is the death of someone who was a nurturing father figure to all three. I thought the book meaningful and enjoyable

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Movie is MUCH better

The flow of the story didn't allow for true connection between the two women. There was too much focus on insignificant details vs. spenidng more time on the relationships and tension of their attraction. It didn't need to end with everyone happy, but I felt wanting much much more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Simply Disobedient.

Great story and voice acting. I could not put it down. An amazing view into a very different world.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • K
  • Ms
  • 04-24-18

Yes

Read it, listen, watch it.
A wonderful piece.
A Must read in school? A college req. for sure.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

So so disappointed - No romance, no happy ending

What would have made Disobedience better?

I don’t even think the main characters liked each other to be honest. There was way too much introspection...and I was not a fan of the overwrought religious stories/analogies that seemed to drag on FOREVER at the beginning of each chapter. I think half of this story was descriptions of food...I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen but nothing ever did the entire book. I honestly chose to read this story because I was excited about the new movie coming out...but this was NOTHING what I expected. I honestly can’t see how they are making a movie about this, unless the movie is only loosely based off of it? And with how it ended, I can’t see me enjoying the movie at all...such a bummer :-(

Any additional comments?

Performance got 5 stars cause narrator was good.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lydia
  • 08-07-17

Find another narrator

You just needed to find someone who can pronounce Hebrew words. It's not that hard, seriously. This is an old favourite book of mine and audio is a disappointment. Constantly distracted by pronunciation mistakes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. A. Croucher
  • 05-01-17

Multilayered

I chose this book after hearing Naomi talking on "Only Artists" Radio 4. I like the way she expressed herself. I had to listen to the first two chapters twice to get into but it was well worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca Fitzpatrick
  • 03-05-18

Disappointing ending

I'm not going to lie- the only reason I downloaded this book was purely for LGBT representation. It was a good book overall, all little slow to get going and in parts a bit boring to listen to. I think I had built up the ending a little too much, I admit, however I felt like there could have been a better one. Overall it was good, not amazing, but good. I felt that Esti and Ronnit's relationship could have been developed more. In saying that, their relationship was the only reason I was enticed to read it. For the general reader I would recommend. For folk like myself who were gagging for some representation- not worth the hype around it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • tristan
  • 02-19-18

A Thoughtful Listen

What made the experience of listening to Disobedience the most enjoyable?

A beautiful insight into the complexities of friendship, family and love combined the demands and expectations of religion and culture.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-18-17

Narration problems

The narrator frustratingly mispronounces so many words that it actually becomes laughable! As well as frustrating

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie Epstein
  • 10-15-17

Great book badly read

This is an excellent novel, a subtle exploration of Jewishness, orthodoxy, father-daughter relationships, sexuality and community. But it really needed to be read by someone different, who doesn’t consistently mispronounce Hebrew and Yiddish words. Even we’ll known words like Shabbat were wrongly pronounced, let alone HaShem . This was profoundly irritating throughout.