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The Sisters Weiss Hardcover – October 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1St Edition edition (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312570198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312570194
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Growing up in a strictly Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn in the 1950s, Rose Weiss and her younger sister, Pearl, are very close, until Rose, always the rebel (reading Anna Karenina with a flashlight under the covers), finally leaves home to escape an arranged marriage, eventually becoming a celebrated photographer. Pearl follows the rules as docile daughter, dutiful wife, and breadwinner, working so that her husband can study the Talmud. But things do not turn out as planned for either sister, and in the next generation, Pearl’s daughter, Rivka, runs away from her pious husband to find her artist aunt, while Rose’s daughter finds her mother’s family. Readers familiar with Yiddish will love the wry idiom (What else do you want already?), but the intense personal drama will reach a wide audience across ethnicity. Returning to her community after 40 years, Rose finds that nothing has changed—neither the prejudice nor the caring love, if you are one of them. The oppressive traditions seem both ludicrous and cruel, yet freedom can bring its own brutality and messes. The ­political-activist husband fights for equality—except for his wife. The secrets hold you to the very end, when the sisters confront the universal question: Whose memory is true to what really happened? --Hazel Rochman

Review

Praise for Naomi Ragen

“Naomi skillfully spins her magic with credible, charismatic characters we can easily relate to . . . the shining importance of family values, and finding out who we really are, even if it is the hard way.” — Tatiana de Rosnay, New York Times bestselling author of Sarah's Key, on The Tenth Song

“[The Tenth Song is a] vivid and compelling story about the cost of security and the value of love as a woman struggles to save her husband, her daughter – and herself.” – India Edghill, author of Delilah and Queenmaker

“A page-turner illustrating the horrifying consequences of becoming embroiled in the American legal system.” – Kirkus Reviews on The Tenth Song

“The pleasure of this novel is in its mercilessness, with Ragen raising the stakes until the very end.” —Publishers Weekly on The Saturday Wife

"A thrilling page-turner from start to finish, The Covenant is . . . Ragen at her finest hour." —Faye Kellerman, New York Times bestselling author of Hangman

"An emotionally potent book." –Kirkus Reviews on Jephte’s Daughter

Customer Reviews

There was wonderful character development!
Sharon Richman
The book is well-written; is a very fast read; sad and happy all at the same time.
snakie100
It was very enjoyable as well as an interesting read.
M. Feldman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carole P. Roman on December 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Sisters Weiss is a book about choice, It's a book about consequence, It's a book about conflict. The problem with this book is that it is a book about so many things and can't seem to settle on one. The first half of the book has Rose taking care of a spoiled little sister. She is a dutiful and obedient daughter. An encounter with a less religious student introduces her to a world outside of her own, and she develops a fascination for the art of photography. She realizes she is smothered in her tight community and runs away on the eve of her marriage. When she abandons her faith and family the book unravels. It jumps back and forth in time, teasing out the rest of Rose's life, falling apart when her runaway niece leaves the faith and becomes her responsibility. I enjoyed the first half of the book, the glimpse into Rose's religious world, but was unsatisfied with the outcome. I did get the conundrum that religious people dedicate their lives to being respectful of following a righteous path, yet their intolerance of anything different is not seen as wrong. When Rose observes that once something is seen, it cannot be unseen, I thought the book was headed in one direction, but it took off into a maze of confusion. Was Rose happy, satisfied with her life. Was it the right decision? There was just no "Aha" moments for me.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Marion E. Gold on November 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The strength of Naomi Ragen's books is their focus on the importance of freedom and choice in a woman's life. In weaving her creative stories, Ragen opens our eyes and minds to women born into ultra-orthodox families who remain in their communities (some happily, others not so happily), and the women who dare to exercise their God-given right of free will and leave their restrictive communities. Some of the latter also leave their faith behind, while others maintain their love and observance of Jewish traditions - but prefer to choose their own husbands, pursue a college education, and live in a secular world.

In Jephte's Daughter, Sotah, and the Sacrifice of Tamar, we anguished - and sometimes cried over the over the choices made by Batsheva, Dina, and Tamar. In Chains Around the Grass, our hearts melted with care and concern for Ruth and young Sara, as they struggled with the choices made to survive. We sympathized, empathized, and cared for the futures of these complex characters as they struggled to survive in their equally complex worlds. I think that was the goal of Naomi Ragen, and she succeeded.

But I felt just the opposite emotions while reading The Saturday Wife, and The Sister's Weiss. In The Saturday Wife, Delilah is a crafty, calculating, and jealous woman who cares little for virtually everyone around her. In The Sister's Weiss, while it was easy to sympathize with the early lives of Rose, Pearl, and Rivka (Pearl's daughter) - we also learned them to be mostly self-absorbed with their own lives. In carefully constructing each character, Ragen presents us with the hard truths of making choices. Every choice has a consequence - some of the consequences bring happiness and success, as well as a share of sadness, pain, and loss.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By shopmaven on November 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ragen's earlier works were much more compelling. This story was predictable and the characters lacked development. I am sadly no longer a fan. The glimpse into Hasidic life was interesting but did not carry the book. I wanted to like any character. And wanted to root for them. But midway I just was rooting to be finished.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By book lover on December 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Rose and Pearl grow up in an ultra-orthodox home in New York with a Rabbi father and ultra-observant mother. Theirs is a loving but strict family, requiring absolute obedience from the girls and their older siblings. When sheltered and naive Rose (the older of the two) becomes friendly with a new girl whose family is newly observant and extremely permissive, she sees a world beyond her closed society. Sent away from home into an even more strict and confining school, Rose rebels and commits a sin her family considers unforgivable. Pearl, who adores her older sister, is left behind to deal with a fractured family and her own perceived guilt. The remainder of the novel covers the career and family of Rose and the eventual re-involvement of Pearl’s conservative religious beliefs in her life.
I found the first three fourths of this novel very informative concerning the ultra-orthodox life style. The characters were fully developed and consistent. The writing was clear and presented the various viewpoints with insight and sympathy. The situations were transparently presented and led to the final plot conflict. Unfortunately the final section of the novel seemed hurried, the characters lost their consistency of thought and action, and the ending was contrived and disappointing.
There is much here that book groups will find worthy of discussion, despite the novel’s limitation. The family situation, the effect of religious faith on family life, sibling relationships, guilt, forgiveness, redemption, choice of career, women’s choice’s, family dynamics, unplanned pregnancies, and education are all worthy topics.
3 of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ilene Gerber on October 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Naomi has done it again. She has written a wonderful book showing women making decisions about their life even if the choices shut them out of the life they knew. Wonderful easy read!
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