Confessions of a Closet Catholic

Confessions of a Closet Catholic

4.3 9
by Sarah Darer Littman
     
 

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Justine Silver's best friend, Mary Catherine McAllister, has given up chocolate for Lent, but Justine doesn't think God wants her to make that kind of sacrifice. So she's decided to give up being Jewish instead.  Eleven-year-old Justine pours her heart out to her teddy bear, "Father Ted," in a homemade closet confessional. But when Justine's beloved Bubbe

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Overview

Justine Silver's best friend, Mary Catherine McAllister, has given up chocolate for Lent, but Justine doesn't think God wants her to make that kind of sacrifice. So she's decided to give up being Jewish instead.  Eleven-year-old Justine pours her heart out to her teddy bear, "Father Ted," in a homemade closet confessional. But when Justine's beloved Bubbe suffers a stroke, Justine worries that her religious exploration is responsible. Worse, she must suddenly contemplate life without Bubbe. Ultimately, it's Bubbe's quiet understanding of Justine's search for identity that helps Justine to find faith in the most important place of all-within herself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An "eleven-going-on-twelve-year-old Jewish girl" searches for her identity in what PW called a "reassuring debut novel about finding one's personal peace-and-comfort zone." Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Justine Silver has made a big decision. She has decided to practice Lent, just like her new friend, Mary Catherine McAllister. Only instead of giving up something silly like chocolate, Jussy's decided to give up something big: being Jewish. So, she begins to practice Catholicism—in her closet with her teddy bear hearing confession as Father Ted. And using matzos in place of communion wafers and reading "Hail Mary" from a cheat sheet. Justine is doing the best she can with the religion, but she knows that she needs to know more. When Mary Catherine invites her to sleep over, Justine finally has the chance to attend church and see what it is all about. When her beloved grandmother, Bubbe, suffers a stroke that morning, Justine is sure that her religious experimentation is to blame. Her search for understanding leads Justine to ultimately be honest with her family, her friends, and herself about who she is and what she wants. From loving chocolate and being a middle child to seeking reassurance and noticing boys, the character of Justine is realistic and endearing. This is not the first novel in which a teen struggles with the issue of religious identity, but it is certainly one of the best. 2005, Dutton, Ages 11 to 16.
—Heidi Hauser Green
Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old Justine's life is both amusing and somber as she negotiates religion, family, and bereavement. Having been ridiculed at home for proposing that they keep kosher, Justine decides to give up Judaism for Lent and become a Catholic. Secretly, in her closet, she confesses to Father Ted (a teddy bear) and takes Communion (matzo and grape juice). On the day she attends Mass with her best friend's idealized family, Justine's beloved Bubbe has a crippling stroke. Wracked with guilt, Justine assumes it's a punishment from God. Unable to care for herself, Bubbe moves in (wonderful) but soon dies, devastating Justine. Bubbe's always given Justine the unconditional love that the rest of their disapproving, teasing family withholds. Struggling to find the meaning of religion (either one) and frustrated that her family won't take her seriously, Justine seeks out a priest (on whom she instantly has a crush) and a rabbi (but not the family's). Both help, as does her family-finally. Funny and tearful. (Yiddish/Hebrew glossary) (Fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142405970
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/04/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
411,817
Product dimensions:
5.11(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.58(d)
Lexile:
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Darer Littman is the critically acclaimed author of Backlash, Want to Go Private?; Life, After; Purge; and Confessions of a Closet Catholic, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award. When she’s not writing novels, Sarah is an award-winning columnist for the online news site CTNewsJunkie. She teaches creative writing as an adjunct professor in the MFA program at Western Connecticut State University, and with Writopia Lab. Sarah lives in Connecticut.

Visit Sarah online at sarahdarerlittman.com

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Confessions of a Closet Catholic 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
This book is for anyone who has ever questioned their faith, lost a loved one, or yearned to understand life just a bit more. Sarah Darer Littman has captured Justine Silver, a confused Jewish girl, within the pages of CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC.

Justine is surrounded by her faith, but no one seems to celebrate it the same way. Her parents have one idea, her grandparents another. And then there are all those other religions -- which way is the "right" way? Bewildered by this, Justine seeks answers by deciding to adopt her best friend's Catholic beliefs. With the help of Father Ted (a stuffed animal), a secretly purchased rosary, and a "stolen" cross necklace, Jussy turns her closet into her own private "confessional". What will happen when her family finds out?

Littman humorously and compassionately shows the readers Justine's life as she struggles with her religious questions, her neat-nick mother, and, sadly, the death of her beloved grandmother. Readers might not find out all the answers from Justine, but they will definitely know they are not alone in the mysterious world of religion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is for anyone who has ever questioned their faith, lost a loved one, or yearned to understand life just a bit more. Sarah Darer Littman has captured Justine Silver, a confused Jewish girl, within the pages of CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC. Justine is surrounded by her faith, but no one seems to celebrate it the same way. Her parents have one idea, her grandparents another. And then there are all those other religions -- which way is the 'right' way? Bewildered by this, Justine seeks answers by deciding to adopt her best friend's Catholic beliefs. With the help of Father Ted (a stuffed animal), a secretly purchased rosary, and a 'stolen' cross necklace, Jussy turns her closet into her own private 'confessional'. What will happen when her family finds out? Littman humorously and compassionately shows the readers Justine's life as she struggles with her religious questions, her neat-nick mother, and, sadly, the death of her beloved grandmother. Readers might not find out all the answers from Justine, but they will definitely know they are not alone in the mysterious world of religion. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is not the best but it is still good. the book dose not have a a thrilling ride like some books but as a story to tell and tells it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i liked the book a lot, but i thought justine was kind of a crybaby although i do sympathize with her. i'm glad the author chose such an interesting topic like religious beliefs when most people don't think it would interest teens but it is interesting. i think anyone in grade 5 or up should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good book. The only part I didn't like was the beginning becuase it was a little boring and not very useful. But, after that the book started getting better and better. It was fun to learn about two different religions. It was an emotional book, but it was a neat book. It was interesting to learn about someone whos life is so messed to up that can change to a life that is great! I am happy I chose to read this book and I think it deserves 4 stars!