Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review: 'The World Outside' by Eva Wiseman

✰✰✰½ Chanie Altman is a seventeen year old high school senior who lives in Crown Heights, New York, an area know for its Lubavitcher community. Chanie knows she is expected to finish school and marry. Chanie never thinks twice about the strict rules that govern her life until she happens to meet two very different people. Both Jade, an African American, and David attend college. Both bring outside views into Chanie's fundamentalist world. For the first time Chanie begins to see there is another world out there, one filled with music and singing. More than anything else, Chanie wants to become a singer, but will her strict upbringing stand in the way of her dreams? Before the riots of 1991 have simmered down, Chanie must make the most difficult decision of her life. She will have to choose between what everyone expects her to do or to follow her dreams. With the help of her friends she must find a way to be happy.

The Bottom Line: The World Outside provides a fascinating glimpse into the closed Lubavitcher community of the early 1990s. Although it was slow to start, the story grew in interest. The book takes an honest look at the barriers we face in ourselves and those we meet in the environment. Recommended for young adult readers, especially women, interested in coming of age stories. A glossary is included; however, I wish more words had been included.

Details: The World Outside by Eva Wiseman. Hardcover published by Tundra Books in 2014. 240 p. ISBN: 978-0-88776-981-8

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