From Publishers Weekly
This sentimental memoir of a journey through divorce focuses on the get, the Jewish divorce decree and ceremony. Katch, a Denver social worker, describes the "surgical finality" of its power as one of both hurt and healing. Frightened by her sense of loss and loneliness in the wake of separation from her husband, Katch balks at proceeding with the get until she can no longer stall. Her procrastination stems partly from her feeling that divorce is a "wound in the universe" and partly from the divergent spiritual path her husband takes, immersing himself in an ultra-Orthodox world far from the havurah she attends. Her in-depth description of the ceremony conducted by "black hats," as she calls the ultra-Orthodox community, mirrors her sense of powerlessness: "I suddenly felt as though I were an American citizen alone in Iraq and government officials were walking me down to a dark basement room..." Though she says the get helped her move beyond anger and bitterness, she provides little insight into that transformative process. Katch's simple narrative, often heavy and monotonous, is broken by flashbacks and pointless poem-like asides ("The house where/ all the/ kids/ hung out"). Readers who reach the end of the story, compelled by the hope that Katch will finally free herself from depression (she does), will find poignancy in her decision to recite the kaddish, the mourner's prayer, as a memorial to her marriage.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Elise Edelson Katch is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Denver, Colorado, specializing in trauma, sexual abuse and divorce. She holds a B.A. in the social sciences and an M.A. in reading education from the University of Colorado, as well as an M.S.W. from the University of Denver. The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children has recognized her for outstanding achievement in the field of child abuse and neglect. Elise helped craft the first child-custody guidelines in Colorado, and was the founder and first president of the Colorado Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She has been an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and apresenter at the Colorado Psychological Association. Often quoted in the print media, Elise has done television interviews both locally and nationally.