Lois Leveen?s newest novel, ?The Secrets of Mary Bowser,? is now available. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning?s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
There?s a novel I first read years ago that rang true in deep ways for me: Immigrant parents work hard, and, as a measure of success, move to the suburbs ? where their older daughter thrives in school, while the younger daughter struggles socially, especially with her ethnic identity. Introduced to a charismatic, and most certainly unorthodox, rabbi, this younger daughter immerses herself in Jewish learning to steady her passage through the throes of adolescence. Her deepening involvement in the synagogue youth group imbues her with a sense of social justice, and greater confidence about who she is and what she wants. What could be a better example of Jewish-American literature?
Except, the novel in question, ?Mona in the Promised Land,? is about a Chinese-American family. Its author, Gish Jen, is herself the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Jen grew up in Scarsdale, a community she portrays with an amazing mix of accuracy, acerbity, and affection. Raised in a similar suburban community and only 13 or so years younger than Jen and her protagonist, I?ve joked that I don?t need to write a novel about my childhood, because Jen already did it for me.
: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062107909/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0062107909&linkCode=as2&tag=thefor03-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0062107909 : http://www.jewishbookcouncil.org : http://www.myjewishlearning.com