Somehow I Am Different: Narratives of Searching and Belonging in Jewish Budapest

Somehow I Am Different: Narratives of Searching and Belonging in Jewish Budapest

by Alyssa R Petersel


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"A journey through the lives of young Eastern European Jews that's not to be missed." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

How do we come to be who we are spiritually? How does our political and social environment influence our development of self?

A young American author immerses herself in modern Jewish Hungary. The twenty-one stories she shares will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to be your own best self. Somehow I Am Different provides an opportunity to connect in a world that otherwise begs us to stand alone. This book serves as a reminder that in spite of the factors working against us, we have the power to make a difference.

In their own words, Hungarian participants will tell you that "Instead of emphasizing our victimhood, we should really tell another story" (Tamás Büchler) and "Maybe I am not perfect, but I am me. At least I am me." (Devora Hurwitz).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780692584118
Publisher: Acorn Publishing, Battle Creek, MI
Publication date: 03/17/2016
Pages: 342
Sales rank: 732,198
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

ALYSSA PETERSEL graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with dual BA degrees in psychology and international studies. Alyssa was awarded the Northwestern Public Interest Fellowship in 2013, through which she worked in research, community building, policy and advocacy at Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY), a violence prevention collaborative convened by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Alyssa raised $12,085 via Kickstarter crowdfunding to fuel her debut nonfiction anthology, Somehow I Am Different. Released in March, 2016, Somehow I Am Different won first place in the Biography/Autobiography section of the New York Book Festival, earned a starred Kirkus Review, has been featured as Kirkus' Indie Book of the Month for July 2016 and has been Named a Kirkus Reviews' Best Book of 2016. Alyssa now studies social work at New York University and nonfiction writing at the CUNY Graduate Center Writer's Institute, is a participating author in the 2016-2017 Jewish Book Council Network, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Somehow I Am Different: Narratives of Searching and Belonging in Jewish Budapest 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Julie12 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book as it gave me a great insight to the Jewish people of Hungary and all that they endured under the oppression of others. The author talked with many people, from all different walks of life, of what happened in their families when faced with other's cruelty because of who they are. So many families either abandoned their faith all together or were secretive about it. I think it would be so awful to have to make a choice like this. Faith is important and, this is very evident when Alyssa states that when the Communist Regime ended in 1989, religious doors flew open - young people adults were hungry to find their religious roots. I really enjoyed feeling as though I was actually visiting Budapest because the author draws you in with her excellent writing and wants you to know the place and the people she is sharing in an intimate way. I was so compelled by these stories and it was hard to put the book down. I learned so much about what happened and what these people endured and, while it's heartbreaking, it's also inspiring to see how they learn to survive and come through. I also found it interesting to know what happened to these families after the oppression and war. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. It's important to know our history - bad and good - so we don't repeat it and this book is very compelling and interesting. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. *This book was provided to me by Acorn Publishing. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alyssa Petersal’s book is authentic, self aware, and daring. In fact, Alyssa’s own journey to Budapest is a perfect parallel to many of her subject’s personal journey’s to find their own identities. She tackles the ambitious task of exploring identity as an outsider with such care. Alyssa is both observer and participant- insider and outsider—in a way that encourages one to think about broader themes of belonging, community, and personhood. There’s no better time to dive into a book that reminds us that though there are endless ways to label ourselves, distinguish and separate from one another—there are also endless opportunities to connect.