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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good lesson in how every choice has a consequence
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...
Published 8 months ago by Marion E. Gold

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start that fizzled out with a muddled message
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...
Published 6 months ago by Carole P. Roman


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good lesson in how every choice has a consequence, November 1, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Hardcover)
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. Other choices bring only tragedy and/or the pain of more difficult choices ahead.

In my opinion, Ragen rates high in giving us literature that is both enjoyable and enlightening - while also opening up our minds to consider the consequences of ultra-orthodox religion. Ultra-orthodoxy not only greatly restricts and stifles the lives of women; it also fosters a lack of respect for other less restrictive forms of religion (modern orthodox, conservative, reform). Men also suffer as Ultra-orthodoxy restricts their secular education, as well as their emotional maturity. Books in this genre include The Chosen, My Name Is Asher Lev and The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok; Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman; Shoshana's Song by Jerry Marcus; and Hush by Eishes Chayil and Judy Brown.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start that fizzled out with a muddled message, December 29, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Page Turner by Naomi Ragen, October 20, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Hardcover)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to character development?, November 7, 2013
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shopmaven (long island, ny) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding as always, October 16, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
Was released yesterday so have only read half but have been hooked since the first page. For anyone who knows and loves this author, you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naomi Ragen is a Master Story Teller Par Excellence, December 29, 2013
This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Hardcover)
What a fantastically wonderful novel this is. Naomi Ragen has done it again. More than any other author I can think of, she holds my attention so strongly, that I find her works extremely difficult to put down. I just cannot stop reading her works, and feel a sense of letdown when I am done with them, but only because I am no longer experiencing the very deep joy I feel when reading her works. This novel was particularly touching for me, as is hit home so much, that i found a grown man like me, trying so hard to hold back my tears, only letting myself cry in the climactic last pages of this book. This novel is not just another novel, nor even just a potential classic, but a morality tale set in the modern day world. The author is not only an absolute master at story telling, but in character development as well. I feel so strongly like I know the people in the novel, and feel sad to have had to say goodbye to them, once I was done reading it. This novel is Naomi Ragen's return to the kind of literary excellence she displayed in her three finest novels, namely Jephte's Daughter, Sotah, and the Sacrifice of Tamar. It is my hope that Naomi Ragen goes from strength to strength, that she continues manifesting her art from which so many, both Jews and Gentiles alike, can benefit.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Sisters Weiss, November 7, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
This book is a very easy read appealing to an individual well versed in the Yiddish language and customs.
The story was almost predictable from the beginning and along the way too far fetched to be conceivable.
One not familiar with the practices of ultra Orthodox Jews could easily misinterpret a life style which in many ways is exemplorary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Very Disappointing Read, January 26, 2014
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
I was surprised how disappointed I was in this book. The first half of the book about Rose's childhood and the decisions she makes was a great read. In the second half of the book Rose evolves into a selfish self centered woman who understands nothing about family or the consequences if her actions. The author never makes the reader understand how Rose came to be such an unlikeable person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, January 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
Good story premise, but could have had more depth. It was simplistic and predictable. This should have been listed as a young adult story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Insight, grest book!, November 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Sisters Weiss (Kindle Edition)
This was a great book, and now that I have read all of Ms. Ragen's books I can honestly say that she is a fabulous writer.
Her intense focus on factual ways of living in the various religious ways of Judiasm. It gave me further insight into how different people interpret how they should observe "their way" of Religous Life.
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The Sisters Weiss
The Sisters Weiss by Naomi Ragen (Hardcover - October 15, 2013)
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