Darra W. (Walnut Creek, CA)
Worthy Homage to a Classic
I was attracted to this book because of early comparisons to "The Age of Innocence," one of my all-time favorite novels. I figured I'd either love it or hate it. The "jury" is in: Segal has crafted a deft homage to Wharton's Pulitzer classic, transporting the focus from the upper-echelons of late-19th-century NY citizenry to contemporary North West London, the established center of the city's thriving Jewish society. The plot, the characters, the themes are very much the same, but unfold with a freshness and flair that has much to offer today's reader. How much have things really changed in 140 years? A great choice for book clubs--lots to discuss; would make a great tandem read with Wharton's "Age."
Lani S. (Narberth, PA)
good beach read
A light hearted rendition of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence taken from a Jewish family's perspective. Being Jewish myself, I found the cultural proclivities,kinship and value system to be "spot on". For individuals not familiar with Jewish culture, it will be an enlightening and educational opportunity. Using Judaism as a core gives this book more depth to explore the issues of family and lost innocence in this light and easy read.
Shirley L. (Norco, LA)
An Enjoyable Read
First and foremost reading a novel should be enjoyable and The Innocents certainly was. The characters were complex and not stereotyped. The description of this modern Jewish community was haunting beautiful. Themes of risk versus safety, the individual versus the family, passion versus comfort were all thoughtfully developed. Lots of shades of gray were provided and no easy answers given. An intelligent, warm, quiet read that I found thoroughly satisfying.
Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)
Not your average "chick-lit"
The story which takes place in a close-knit Jewish community in London is a story of leaving the arms of the extended family and the discovery of the world outside. When I read it, I felt that the author had lived it; or at least something like it. The voices felt very real. I recommend it.
Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)
The joy and pain of families
The Innocents is a lovely debut novel set in a Jewish community in London that explores the choices we make and the cost of those choices. Told from the point of view of Adam, who believes he has everything he ever wanted until he sees possibilities that he never knew were there. It shows us his totally supportive family and community as he realizes that the other side of comfort and love is constraint and confinement. He must decide what kind of man he chooses to be. Written with a light touch of humor, this is a delightful book - highly recommended.