Deborah Green is a woman of passionate contradictions: a rabbi who craves faith and goodness while wrestling with her own doubts and desires. Her life changes when she visits the hospital room of Henry Friedman, an older man who has attempted suicide. His parents were murdered in the Holocaust when he was a child, and all his life he has struggled with painful questions. Can happiness come after such loss or does the very wish profane the dead? Can religious promises ever be fulfilled?
Deborah's encounter with Henry draws her into his world: his wife, Helen, a photographer fiercely devoted to her husband but frightened by him, too; his son, Lev, a science reporter who left his fiancee at the altar; and Lev's best friend from childhood, Neal, whose life fell apart after a psychotic break.
Joy Comes in the Morning has the amplitude of a 19th-century novel but with a distinctly modern sensibility.
"Welcoming and intelligent." (Publishers Weekly) "Rosen has created a marvelously accessible and touching novel that is at once profoundly philosophical and simply radiant." (Booklist)
I like complex characters and symbolism and the weaving together of various lives into a plot. This story is rich in character. I find the humanity and spiritual aspirations of the main character endearing - she has the imperfection of a spiritual leader - striving for "perfection" but failing (and able to look at her failings with good humor). Funny moments and redeeming ones. Good read!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
After listening to about 4 hours of the book, there was still no plot that I could detect. The never ending descriptions of details of the characters and their lives got to be mor than I could endure.
What was most disappointing about Jonathan Rosen’s story?
The lack of a plot make this book most dissapointing.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
A nonredemptive novel.