This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir

This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir

by Judy Brown


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This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir by Judy Brown

A razor-sharp, hilarious, and poignant memoir about growing up in the closed world of the ultraorthodox Jewish community.

The third of six children in a family that harks back to a gloried Hassidic dynasty, Judy Brown grew up with the legacy of centuries of religious teaching, and the faith and lore that sustained her people for generations.

But her carefully constructed world begins to crumble when her "crazy" brother Nachum returns home after a year in Israel living with relatives. Though supposedly "cured," he is still prone to retreating into his own mind or erupting in wordless rages. The adults' inability to make him better - or even to give his affliction a name - forces Judy to ask larger questions: If God could perform miracles for her sainted ancestors, why can't He cure Nachum? And what of the other stories her family treasured?

Judy starts to negotiate with God, swinging from holy tenets to absurdly hilarious conclusions faster than a Talmudic scholar: she goes on a fast to nab coveted earrings; she fights with her siblings at the dinner table for the ultimate badge of honor ("Who will survive the next Holocaust?"); and she adamantly defends her family's reputation when, scandalously, her parents are accused of having fallen in love---which is absolutely not what pious people do.

For all its brutal honesty about this insular community, This Is Not a Love Story is ultimately a story of a family like so many others, whose fierce love for each other and devotion to their faith pulled them through the darkest time in their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316400725
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/28/2015
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 794,261
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Judy Brown wrote the controversial novel Hush--a finalist for the 2011 Sydney Taylor Award for outstanding book on the Jewish experience--under a pseudonym because of feared backlash from the
Chassidic world. Brown's identity has since been revealed and she has left Chassidism. She has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine and has written for the Huffington Post and the Jewish Daily Forward. She holds a master's in creative writing and lives in New York City.

What People are Saying About This

Nina Stibbe

I love books about families and this one is so warm and funny that I couldn't put it down. Judy Brown draws us into a closed world and shows how a family's love for each other transcended many obstacles. This Is Not a Love Story actually is one. --Nina Stibbe, author of Man at the Helm and Love, Nina

Leah Vincent

This extraordinary memoir is an instant classic as it explores some of the most important love stories never told. Judy Brown brilliantly melds frankness with compassion as she unfurls the secrets of her Chassidic childhood. With echoes of Scout Finch, the feisty Menuchah guides readers on an unforgettable journey of love, justice and compassion. --Leah Vincent, author of Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood

Jennifer Traig

In this thoughtful and engaging memoir, Judy Brown offers a fascinating glimpse into a world, a family, a life. This is not a love story, but it is an enthralling one, and an important one. I was utterly absorbed. --Jennifer Traig, author of Devil in the Details and Well Enough Alone

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This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nook never let me read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago