BookBrowse Reviews The Orchard by David Hopen

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The Orchard

by David Hopen

The Orchard by David   Hopen X
The Orchard by David   Hopen
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2020, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 28, 2021, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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David Hopen's debut is philosophical discussion disguised as a coming-of-age novel.

The protagonist of David Hopen's first novel, The Orchard, is 17-year-old Aryeh Eden, a Brooklyn boy raised in a Hasidic household where daily life revolves around strict observance of Orthodox Judaic tradition. When his father's job change forces Aryeh and his parents to relocate to Florida, the teen enrolls in a yeshiva (an Orthodox Jewish school) that is far more worldly than the one he left behind in New York. He becomes an unlikely member of the school's in-crowd, who lead him into increasingly dangerous situations, culminating in tragedy.

The first half of the novel, in which the now-adult Aryeh provides a first-person account of his formative years, is pure set-up. He introduces the audience to the heavily constrained world of Torah Temimah ("The Torah is Perfect"), a school he says is "single sexed, with a black-and-white dress code, thirty boys per grade and a reputation for...

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