The Book of Separation

A Memoir
Narrated by: Tova Mirvis
Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world.

Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. She married a man from within the fold and quickly began a family.

But over the years, her doubts became noisier than her faith, and at age 40 she could no longer breathe in what had become a suffocating existence. Even though it would mean the loss of her friends, her community, and, possibly, even her family, Tova decides to leave her husband and her faith. After years of trying to silence the voice inside her that said she did not agree, did not fit in, did not believe, she strikes out on her own to discover what she does believe and who she really is. This will mean forging a new way of life not just for herself, but for her children, who are struggling with what the divorce and her new status as "not Orthodox" means for them.

This is a memoir about what it means to decide to heed your inner compass at long last. To free the part of yourself that has been suppressed, even if it means walking away from the only life you've ever known. Honest and courageous, Tova takes us through her first year outside her marriage and community as she learns to silence her fears and seek adventure on her own path to happiness.

©2017 Tova Mirvis (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Book of Separation

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  • Overall
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So many parallels

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon. I have recently decided to step away from the church. As I listened to the words read by Tova I was struck by how many similarities there are between her experience and mine. different religions, different rituals, different customs yet so many of her words hit home to my heart.

9 people found this helpful

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Simply amazing!!!

This book was fantastic start to finish! I cannot say enough how incredible Tova mirvis is as an author, and in this case, as a narrator. This was the 1st of her books that I have read, and it is her story 1st and foremost. The audible performance is simply incredible to listen to, and as you listen you are drawn in not just by the words that are narrated but by the over all Passion with which she tells her story. You're brought into a world that you may not know anything about to start with, as I was, having had little experience in my own personal life. I had family who were Jewish but by the time I came along, those family members were either about to pass on or had already passed on. Therefore, I didn't have the opportunity to learn about the Jewish heritage in my family. I heard stories growing up from my mother, but as she was not practicing in the faith, nor were her parents and siblings, all they were to me were stories of my great grandparents and their beliefs. I never got to hear them firsthand. Listening to this book transforms a story that I had simply heard over the years as I grew up into so much more for me. I learned more about the faith, practices, and this author's struggle When she chose to no longer remain orthodox. The way in which she tells her story you feel like you are right there with her every step of the way, and for me at least, feeling much of what she felt just in listening to her tell her story in her own words.

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There are many ways to be

It's hard for me to put into words how this book made me feel. Essentially, less alone. <3 I was also raised in an orthodox religion (though not Jewish), I also spent my young adulthood trying to piece together the puzzle of being a strong, educated feminist in a patriarchal faith community -- convinced that I could. And, ultimately, I also left. But of course leaving is not that simple. As Tova says -- you leave again, and again. I love the way Tova captures the pain and challenge and excitement of straddling two worlds and two selves in the journey towards authenticity.

2 people found this helpful

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Such Great Writing!!

I have been a fan of Tova's writing for many years. This was no exception!

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Beautifully written

Tova Was able to dig deep into her soul and so eloquently share her deepest feelings. I was so grateful for all she shared about how hard it is to leave something that has so long been a part of you, so you can stay true to your heart and feelings. I felt so many parallels to her story of leaving orthodox Judaism and my leaving Mormonism. You feel a tug from both ends. These are things that as you try to separate from you have to reconcile that there are pieces that will always be a part of you. I loved how she compared leaving orthodoxy to leaving your childhood home. Although you will continue to go back and always have strong memories that is no longer where you live. Thank you for Sharing such a personal experience so that I can gain strength and learn I am not alone.

1 person found this helpful

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Your time better spent somewhere else . . .

I listened to this book on Audible which was read by Ms Mirvis. I did not find it interesting or engaging. It felt like a slog through someone's painful experience but of very little interest to anyone else. It is the same thing over and over and over. I would Not recommend this to anyone else to read or listen to. I AM glad she got this off her chest, however, and hope she can move on with her life.

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Terrible narration. Good story.

It is generally ideal for the author to narrate her own book....unless she is terrible at it. Then it pays to get a professional.

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this book could have ended in 7 chapters.

pros: view of modern orthodox Judaism in many variations and the challenges facing both women and men. cons: so many cathartic moments that they eventually felt snooze-worthy. oh she realizes that marriage at 23 was a mistake. "yup." she sees her sister get married and wishes she could talk to her 23 y.o. self. "yup." she throws the ring she's worn since 23y.o. in a lake (quote: "the water will know what to do with it. " "yup."

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Good book

A good read; however, she is too simplistic about her assessment of Orthodox Jews and Judaism. Personally, I don’t think she was ever really into it Also, she now claims everything is so great. Let’s see what she says in ten years. She’ll probably be divorced again- and never happy. Too bad for Toba.

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Terrible book

Riva sounds like a whiny child throughout the entire book. It doesn’t help that she is reading it. I found it painful to listen to. I’m planning on returning it.