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4.3 out of 5 stars
Wherever You Go: A Novel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The chapters alternated between the main characters in a haphazard way not allowing for full personality development. Had the book been longer to allow for better character development, it would have rated more stars.(Spoiler) How everything fell into place at the end in the manner it did was totally unrealistic.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought the book yesterday and I could not stop reading; the story is very compelling, the small and the big story are very nicely interwoven. The author got the intricacies of the ideological positions so right, and the rhythm is great. This is a wonderful read and I will recommend to others. Regina
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on September 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
"He turned back to the terrible bed. It looked like the bed of a prisoner, the brutal metal frame, the cheap narrow mattress. He straightened the sheets, smoothed the thin blanket, tried to fluff up the sorrowful pillow, making it up as best he could so that if she ever came back, she would know that someone had been there who had loved her and cared for her and hoped that she would be all right."
p. 154

This is the type of writing where I can really lose myself in the story and never want to come up for air. I was truly amazed at how much this story impacted me because it's a quiet story with two out of the three main characters who are quiet people. The author took me into Israel...an Israel that I have never really seen ,nor ever experienced quite like this. I feel that this is a timely book in regards to the current hostilities that Israel has been facing and though it doesn't go into detail regarding the problems with the Palestinians, it does give you a few glimpses into the lives of the Jewish people that live there. Some are strictly religious and follow the Talmud without question, while others are just happy to try to co-exist with their Arab neighbors. I liked the way the author had the characters lives intersect and what happened after that one fateful event!

After reading this paragraph I had to stop and really mull it over for a while...

The muezzin was finishing his chant. First to the east, then to the west, then north and south. It seemed to Yona to be a live human voice, though she'd heard they were often recordings now. In some cities, the honor used to go to a man who was blind so that when he ascended the minaret to sing out his cries, he wouldn't be able to see into the courtyard of his fellow citizens and violate their privacy.
But listening now--Allah u Akbar! Allah u Akbar! God is great! God is great!--Yona wondered if perhaps only a blind man could bear to do it. If maybe all calls to the faithful, of all religions, were made by those who were blind. The trumpet charge to the Crusades, the whipped-up cries for jihad, the pumped-up settler rallies in Zion Square refusing to withdraw, to Never forgive! Never forget! Because that way they would never have to see what it was they were calling for.
[p.185-186]

Recommend? Yes, without hesitation. This is a book that will draw you in slowly and has a certain rhythm to it...hard to explain exactly, but I was captivated by each character's story and how their choices and decisions would impact their happiness and the direction of their life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Yona Stern has traveled from New York to Israel to make amends with her estranged sister, a stoic ideologue and mother of five who has dedicated herself to the radical West Bank settler cause. Yona's personal life resembles nothing of her sister's, but it isn't politics that drove the two apart.

Now a respected Jerusalem Talmud teacher, Mark Greenglass was once a drug dealer saved by an eleventh-hour turn to Orthodox Judaism. But for reasons he can't understand, he's lost his once fervent religious passion. Is he through with God? Is God through with him?

Enter Aaron Blinder, a year-abroad drop-out with a history of failure whose famous father endlessly--some say obsessively--mines the Holocaust for his best-selling, melodramatic novels. Desperate for approval, Aaron finds a home on the violent fringe of Israeli society, with unforeseen and devastating consequences.

In a sweeping, beautifully written story, Joan Leegant weaves together three lives caught in the grip of a volatile and demanding faith. Emotionally wrenching and unmistakably timely, Wherever You Go shines a light on one of the most disturbing elements in Israeli society: Jewish extremist groups and their threat to the modern, democratic state. This is a stunningly prescient novel.

My Review:

The story was well written to include the lives of the three characters in the book, Yona Stern, Mark Greenglass and Aaron Blinder. They are united in a unique way, their love for Israel and the importance of being a Jew.

For Yona Stern, she struggles with rebuilding the relationship with her sister Dena for the last 12 years while rebuilding the issue of trust that has dissolved between them. Yona cheated on her sister with her boyfriend at the time, who confessed he didn't really love Dena for the last year and instead has fallen for her. Riddled with guilt, he ultimately confesses to Dena and ends the relationship thinking that they will now fall in love. The only problem is that Yona doesn't love him and never did.

Now she finds herself trying to finally reconcile the gap that has come between them in her section of the book and it seems that Dena only wishes to punish her sister through her actions while she allows her to visit by barely speaking to her, and for the most part staying so busy they don't have time to be alone.

Mark Greenglass has spent his year attempting to find out who he really is, under the watchful eyes of his father, who has more money then he will ever be able to spend in his lifetime. He doesn't believe that Mark will ever amount to anything and he spends time in and out of different college classes trying to find his faith again as a Jewish man.

Aaron Builder is a unique individual who is trying to make sure that the Jewish people are not forced out of Israel by their Arab neighbors. He will join whatever cause is necessary to make sure that the rising hostilities against Israel will not eliminate the country he has come to love.

I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review. This is probably one of the first books that I've had the opportunity to read that involves three different stories all in one but doesn't lose the reader along the way. There within the pages of this novel we find out just how far these individuals are willing to go to in the name of their cause? How far will Yona go to reconcile the relationship with her sister, Dena? How far will Mark go to hold on to his faith and still make his father proud? How far will Aaron go to ensure the safety of the land he loves?
I would rate this a 4 out of 5 stars!
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on January 1, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I enjoyed this tale mainly for its unexpectedly evenhanded look at modern Israel (including the tomato salads, the situation, and the chain-smokers), particularly Jerusalem and environs.

Although, by the last third, I was hooked on the plot for its own sake and finally moved to the tears the author intended by the resolution.

Yona's naivete about, say, police work, was a little annoying, but I suppose you couldn't expect much sophistication from a woman who spent her twenties specializing in adultery. Hopefully Eyal will take care of that, and Moishe will figure out, as Wasserman says, that it needn't all come down to Torah or bars.

I could go on (the Dickensian names are a lot of fun) but the other reviewers have given enough away already. Nice work, Ms Leegant. I hope you write more about Eretz Yisrael. I'll certainly come along on the next 12-hour flight.
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on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it. It gives me insight into Israeli life and culture. Interesting characters and scenarios.
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on January 14, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
While the plot eventually holds your attention, the characters are two- dimensional. Theu lurch through their lives like chess pieces, giving us little insight, and the pre-planned resolution is tidy but basically unsatisfactory. The character named "Aaron" is left in limbo, though, as if the author couldn't figure out what to do withhim.
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on March 6, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
When I started it I found it a but slow but it turned out to be an excellent book. I recommend it highly.
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on February 9, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I read this for a book club. Some of the other readers thought it was confusing because the story skipped around a bit. I did not find it confusing and I was eager to finish it to see what happened to all the characters.
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on February 4, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A very interesting novel, interweaving three stories. A bit slow reading initially, but towards the end you just can't stop reading until you're finished.
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