The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis

The Book of Separation

The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world.Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. She married a man from within the fold and quickly began a family. But ...

Details The Book of Separation

TitleThe Book of Separation
Release DateSep 19th, 2017
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Biography, Theology

Reviews The Book of Separation

  • Elyse
    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women -Hasidic women - belong to sectarian communities, worshipping and working as followers of specific rebbes-they are set apart from assimilated, mainstream Jews.Here in America....In 2017....this is a lifestyle choice that many men and women follow. Hasidism -( a word Tova Mirvis doesn’t use in her memoir yet is the Hebrew word for Ultra-Orthodox Judaism)......or a radical movement of Judaism which reac...
  • Julie Ehlers
    The entire time I was reading The Book of Separation, one particular question kept haunting me. Not a particularly nice or charitable question, admittedly, but it haunted me nonetheless. Specifically, If a person spends her teens, 20s, and 30s living in a restrictive culture and does her best to conform to that restricted culture, at what point has she forfeited her opportunity to become an interesting, mature, grown-up person?Well, I told you it...
  • Rebecca Foster
    Tova Mirvis broke from Orthodox Judaism at the same time that she divorced her husband, but her strict faith and her marriage had both been dissolving for a long time. Every time she chafed against wearing a hairpiece and a hat to synagogue, every time she resented having to check that all was prepared so she wouldn’t have to so much as turn on a light on the Sabbath, she drifted a little further from the religion that had previously given her ...
  • Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
    When I first heard about this book I contacted the author about receiving an ARC for review, which she kindly sent. All opinions are my own. I always find it fascinating to learn about other people's religion and belief systems and I love books about family so the premise of this book intrigued me. This book is a memoir written by Tova Mirvis. Tova was raised in the Orthodox Jewish faith. I didn't know too much about this faith before this book, ...
  • Eliana
    I appreciated her message but it felt a bit repetitive.
  • Kathy
    I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.Two and a half stars.Tirvis' story of leaving her religious community and her marriage is, at heart, a compelling one, and I found myself drawn into the complexities of her life in the initial chapters of the book. As the book progressed, though, there seemed to be a lack of cohesion and organization that resulted in me losing interest in her story. At times, she begins sharing a memory, s...
  • SundayAtDusk
    Having read a few other books about women leaving Orthodox Judaism, I knew I would breeze through this one, since I find the topic so interesting. The fact Tova Mirvis also appeared to be emotionally intelligent, unlike another author or two, also convinced me I was on my way through her story at top-notch speed. Things don’t always happen as predicted, though, and about one-fourth of the way through her memoir I realized something--I was bored...
  • Jess
    Rarely do I encounter a memoir that I earmark to re-read again in the future, yet The Book of Separation is that one. With beautiful prose that long-time fans will recognize from her fictional works, Mirvis unravels the threads of her marriage and her faith. It's a story of losing one's religion in order to be free, but it's also a story of Mirvis leaving her marriage to live more truthfully.What I loved about this book is that it does not rely o...
  • Brian
    Tova Mirvis lived most of her life as an Orthodox Jew. She kept the traditions and the dutiful life that a woman of this faith lives but she feels like she doesn't really belong. One day she decides to divorce her husband and begin her life anew. This is her story. I learned a great deal about Orthodox Judaism from reading this memoir. The author is a very good writer and uses good language and imagery. My complaint about this book was that it fe...
  • Nicki
    This was a fascinating account of one woman’s escape from a unhappy marriage, and a religion full of laws she no longer felt comfortable with.I was drawn to this book as I’d been through a similar experience when I left my church community a few years ago. As I was reading this I was nodding my head, and also cringeing as I remember having had the same experiences as the author. I too went through the same feelings of relief and worry about n...
  • Alison
    very disappointed with what happened in this book. wont' be reading any future books by this author.
  • Tracy
    The Book of Separation is a heart wrenching memoir. Mirvis is simultaneously separating from her husband and her religion. She poignantly describes those that supported her and those that shunned her. Her beautiful writing makes this memoir meaningful for the reader and difficult to put down. Mirvis recounts the changes she made in her life and the impact they had on her children and other loved ones. This memoir is one of both struggle and hope....
  • Elizabeth Olesh
    In this lyrical memoir, Mirvis (The Ladies Auxiliary) explores her decision to leave the religion in which she was raised and married, Orthodox Judaism.
  • Jill Meyer
    Written on the back of the readers' copy of novelist Tova Mirvis memoir, "The Book of Separation", is the description, "The memoir of a woman who leaves her marriage and her faith and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a new mapless world". Okay, but here's the thing, Tova Mirvis didn't leave her faith; she moved from Modern Orthodox Judaism to a less strict observing of Judaism. The difference between apostasy and a down-...
  • Dr. Harold
    Dissing Orthodoxy: Critical Review of The Book of SeparationThere is a fast-growing oeuvre of books and movies by Jews opting out from their religiously observant lives. Two new works are from Netflix, One of Us, and The Book of Separation (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), a memoir from bestselling novelist Tova Mirvis. The Book is hardly a spiritual journey eloquently described to anguished parents, spouses, and readers by other writers. This i...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    The Book of Separation is the story of Tova Mirvis' choices at a critical juncture in her life. Murvis practiced and adhered to the strictures of Orthodox Judaism. She waxed and waned with her faith until she had to make changes in her life concerning her marriage and her orthodoxy. The reader is given a gleaning to the many rules of her faith. I'm intrigued by Orthodox Judaism but could never conform to its rigidity. Thanks to NetGalley for the ...
    Tova Mirvis bares her soul in "A Book of Separation," in which she recalls her Modern Orthodox upbringing in Memphis; her sixteen-year marriage to Aaron, with whom she had three children; and her decision at the age of forty to leave not only her husband, but also traditional Judaism. Tova, (a name that in Hebrew means "good"), is a novelist who married too young and too hastily, before she and Aaron really knew who they were and what they wanted...
  • Ilana
    When the Jewish divorce is pronounced, the Biblical term for the get document given to the woman is sefer kritut, in translation, the book of termination or the book of separation. In her memoir, Tova Mirvis retraces her journey from the moment when her separation process started - not only from her husband, but from her Orthodox life - until she climbs her own mountain and tries to set up her free life, the original version of herself. 'After ye...
  • Larry
    From Mendel the mouse to an NCSY kumsitz, from yeshiva-in-Israel conviction to post-Orthodox, post-marriage, post-community reinvention, Tova Mirvis captures what it means to be a modern Orthodox Jew, walking the tightrope that doesn't always hold.
  • Linda
    Tova Mirvis was brought up in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, marries an Orthodox man after knowing him for 12 weeks, and realizes after 16 years of marriage that she is looking for more that the tightly-knit community offers to a woman. This memoir follows her journey through her marriage, her life as an Orthodox wife and mother, and her divorce. This insightful book is a pleasure to read, both for the way it is written and for the glimpse into a...
  • Rachel
    It was difficult to separate (ta da ching) this book from another recent Jewish memoir that I'd read, Abigail Pogrebin's MY JEWISH YEAR. Both of these memoirs follow the course of a year, often touching upon Jewish holidays. But while Pogrebin's memoir is about connecting more fully to Jewish rituals in an oft-progressive setting, Mirvis's is about leaving the strict rituals and life of Orthodoxy.Also throughout the essays in the memoir, Mirvis g...
  • Laurie
    I really liked Tova's story of her divorce and choice to separate from Orthodoxy. Although a "Jewish story " the themes of not fitting in with a community and not believing are universal as are her observations on how family members can be different yet accepting.
  • Rachel
    The writing is wonderful, much improved from her previous work. I could relate to everything in this book - regarding religion. So well done.
  • Karen
    Tova Mirvis grew up in a small Orthodox Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family is well rounded, intellectual, loving and kind. Her parents unconditionally supported their children and their choices as they grew up. Tova always dreamed of being a writer and attended Columbia University in NYC where she honed her talent and met her future husband. She remained true to her family traditions and always walked the careful line of what is a...
  • Nancy
    I've read the author's earlier books (The Ladies Auxiliary and The Outside World) and looked forward to reading her memoir. The Book of Separation is very detailed (and that's perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the book) and we learn about her orthodox upbringing in Memphis, education in NYC and overseas, and her marriage, children and subsequent divorce. The cloak of orthodoxy was difficult to shed and Ms. Mirvis illustrates the book with...
  • Sara
    I've really enjoyed Mirvis's novels and frankly, I'd pick up any book she authored to read. She has a unique perspective due to her unique upbringing. I look forward to reading more from her. Thus said, the reader should take the title very seriously. It is all about Separation. She really explores this topic to the point of sometimes being overwhelming and redundant. However, it's her journey and not unrelatable. There are some fairy tale-ish mo...
  • Myra Gordon
    I loved this book in part because the author, Tova Mervis, is my cousin. The author discusses her extended family in the book, and I grew up knowing Tova's parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents, though, ironically, I have never met Tova, as I had already left Memphis by the time she was growing up. I have had a great interest in the place of women in Judaism, especially in Orthodox Judaism, and have written a couple of graduate schoo...