Ellie Gold is an orthodox Jewish teenager living in Toronto in the late eighties. Ellie has no doubts about her strict religious upbringing until she falls in love with another girl at her grandmother's cottage. Aware that homosexuality clashes with Jewish observance, Ellie feels forced to either alter her sexuality or leave her community. Meanwhile, Ellie's mother, Chana, becomes convinced she has a messianic role to play, and her sister, Neshama, chafes against the restrictions of her faith. Ellie is afraid there is no way to be both gay and Jewish, but her mother and sister offer alternative concepts of God that help Ellie find a place for herself as a queer Jew.
Leanne Lieberman is the author of several books for young adults. Leanne lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches elementary school. For more information, visit www.leannelieberman.com.
Read an Excerpt
"All through dinner a silent rage courses through me. Judaism says I am an abomination, yet God and His commandments are supposed to be good. Mrs. Lowenstein says I can change, but I've tried and it didn't work. Neshama says God is just an idea made up by stupid men who say women can't love other women. What is God anyway? Some big guy in the sky? The creator? Creator of what? I know dinosaur bones are older than the Torah."
This book by Canadian first-time author Leanne Lieberman centers on the coming-of-age of Ellie Gold.
The story begins during the summer vacation: Ellie goes to her grandmother's cottage in the midst of immaculate natural beauty, a place that she has looked forward to returning to since her first visit. This trip ends unexpectedly, as Ellie ends up falling in love with a girl her age, realizing her homosexuality.
However, Ellie has been brought up with strict religious values and traditions, which do not accept homosexuality, and she is forced to choose between shunning her community or denying her true sexuality.
Ultimately, through the multiple conflicts illustrated between tradition and modernity, Lieberman establishes that there is a place for all types of people, including Ellie, in society and religion.
I definitely enjoyed this story. Lieberman sucessfully develops her characters, and does not shy away from the lust commonly experienced by teenagers. And, coupled with the homosexual storyline, this story provides for a very interesting read, and is friendly to those who are not familiar with Judaism, specifically Orthodoxy.
GRAVITY is a good read for any, and despite my initial questions of how Lieberman would create such a challenging story, my concerns were for naught, as the story is an excellent work.
More than 1 year ago
this book made a huge difference in my life and was just truly amazing