Once in a Blue Moon Book Review

I absolutely love reading, and can’t get through the day without at least a few minutes of “escape”. Before Passover I had very little time to read – but I made up for it over the intermediate days of the holiday.

I received the book Sondra’s Search, written by Ester Silvers, after I agreed to read and review it for her on my blog.

Sondra Apfelbaum thinks she is a regular American kid, until one day when she is eleven she discovers that her family is different. Asked to do a family tree for an assignment at school, she innocently asks her mother why there are no pictures of the maternal side of the family. Her mother cannot bring herself to explain, but her father breaks the news that Sondra’s mother’s whole family was killed by the Nazis during World War II. This leads Sondra to learn what she can about the Holocaust, and it starts her on her path to learn what Judaism means to her.

Throughout the book Silvers contrasts Sondra’s attitude towards her Jewishness and that of her cousin Howie, who is very drawn to the social group in their town. Living in Lincoln, Kansas, the number of Jews is understandably small, so in order to fit in both Sondra and Howie have many Christian friends. As they grow up the question of dating non-Jews inevitably comes up, along with the family’s reaction to the intermarriage of an older cousin. The story sensitively explores how each cousin reacts differently and makes different decisions.

Overall I enjoyed the book, although I found that it was a bit heavy on the plot and light on the characterization. Perhaps it is because I too went through a similar “search” to Sondra’s – as did many of my friends in NCSY in high school – and the story line was too familiar to me. I felt that I wanted a deeper look at what Sondra was feeling, and I also wanted to understand Helga, Sondra’s mother better.

Sondra’s Search, by Ester Katz Silvers, is published by Devorah Publishing.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Batya from Shiloh
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 03:19:46

    Ester’s my neighbor, a very special woman, and her book is great.

  2. Helen Hunt
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 10:18:16

    Thanks, I will check it out from the publisher for publishing on our website.
    This is the second time in a week that I’ve seen a review of this material; so, I’m guessing it’s cool.

    Nice blog BTW 🙂

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