Sunday, October 21, 2007
Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman
I recommend this book for: grade 5 and up
Justine's whole family is Jewish, but they do it in different ways. Her Bubbe (grandma) keeps kosher and walks to services every Saturday, while her other set of grandparents belong to a country club that serves all kinds of foods outlawed by the Torah. Her parents only attend services twice a year, and they and her siblings had a major meltdown when Justine announced that she wanted to keep kosher. It seems so much simpler to be Catholic like her best friend, so Justine decides to give up being Jewish for Lent.
Things I liked about this book: Justine's keen observations, such as realizing that sitting next to a cute boy in church can be distracting, so perhaps that's why men and women sit separately in the synagogue. Her guilt over what happens to Bubbe, a Holocaust survivor, seemed a bit over the top to me, but fairly believable for a child having a crisis of faith. I also enjoyed the priest and rabbi characters, who managed to fly fairly free of stereotypes. And, either I'm getting to be a total wimp when it comes to emotional books, or the scenes involving Justine and her special relationship with Bubbe were extremely touching, because I was crying through this book too!
Read it from the pros.