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The World Outside by Eva Wiseman

The World Outside

by Eva Wiseman

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An absorbing story centered on a teen belonging to a Lubavitcher Hasidic sect in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The depiction of this Hasidic community is often fascinating but the narrative suffers from unconvincing plot developments and other contrivances. The racial tensions between the Hasids and their black neighbors also lacks explanation and depth. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Not great. Poorly developed characters and a number of factual errors about locations in New York City. Several other books about American Hasidim do a much better job. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Feb 11, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I requested this book because I really like reading about different religions, and I like reading religious fiction. However, this book was written for children, and does not bridge the divide between an adult reader and a child reader. There have been a lot of cross over young adult fiction into the adult market and this book simply does not do a good job holding interest for the adult reader.

Generally, I think that a much younger person would enjoy this book. However, it seems likely that most high schoolers would find this book below their level. Possibly students in middle school would get the most enjoyment out of this book. ( )
  Crissyreads | Jul 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Chanie Altman loves to sing, but she knows she will never be able to perform. In her strict Lubavich community, women are not allowed to sing in front of men unless they are related to them. Chanie has always accepted the strictures of her community and religion, but when she meets David, a Jewish boy from a more progressive background, she begins to imagine what could be possible for her. David encourages her to apply to Julliard, and against all odds, she is granted an audition. Now Chanie must choose: will she leave everything she knows to follow her dream?

I found this book interesting, as I know very little about Chabad or Orthodox Judaism, or about the 1991 Crown Heights Riot, which figures prominently in the book. I think this serves as a good introduction to these topics; it certainly inspired me to do a little more reading about them. On the other hand, I had a hard time believing in the instantaneous attraction between Chanie and David, and the lengths to which he went in order to see her. There were also a few spots where the dialogue was a little stilted. The ending is bittersweet but satisfactory. ( )
  foggidawn | Jun 30, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A clear picture of life inside a Lubavitcher community. Chanie yearns for the freedom to sing, but the many restrictions of her religion make it a forbidden dream. Although informative, the story had few surprises for me. I almost wished the viewpoint character were one of the other characters, ones who aren't questioning their place in the world. I understand people who find that world too small, but I'd like to have a better sense of the ones who accept it. The love interest also seemed unlikely -- it was hard to see how Chanie inspired that kind of devotion in anyone.
  ejmam | Jun 12, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0887769810, Hardcover)

An informative and powerful novel, The World Outside explores the life of a teenage girl in a fundamentalist Hasidic community who dreams of a different future.
     Seventeen-year-old Chanie Altman lives the protected life of a Lubavitcher Hasidic girl in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, in 1991. Religion is the most important aspect of her life, and, like other Lubavitcher girls, she is expected to attend a seminary and to marry as soon as she graduates from high school. But Chanie has a beautiful voice and dreams of becoming an opera singer - a profession forbidden to a Hasidic girl. When she meets David, a non-Hasidic Jewish boy, he opens the portals to the world outside her fundamentalist community. The Crown Heights riots break out, and the Lubavitchers are put under siege by their African-American neighbors. A tragedy occurs. Will Chanie stay in the fundamentalist community she has always known in a life that has been prescribed for her, or will she leave it behind to follow her dreams?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:52 -0400)

Like other girls in her tight-knit, religious community, Chanie Altman, is expected to attend a seminary and to marry as soon as she graduates from high school even though she has aspirations to become a famous singer. But as racial tensions explode into riots in Crown Heights, and Chanie's community comes under seige, will she choose to stay in the world she has always known, or will she leave it behind to follow her dreams?… (more)

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