Friday, July 5, 2013

Being Esther

Being Esther
by Miriam Karmel

Genre: Women's Fiction

Synopsis:  Born to parents who fled the shtetl, Esther Lustig has lead a seemingly conventional life-marriage, two children, a life in suburban Chicago.  Now, at the age of eighty-five, her husband is deceased, her children have families of their own, and most of her friends are gone.  Even in this diminished condition, life hs its moments of richness, as well as its memorable characters.  But above all there are the memories.  Of better days with Marty, her husband.  Of unrealized obsessions with other men.

As she moves back and forth through time, Esther attempts to come to terms with the meaning of her outwardly modest life.  As a young woman, she wondered about the world beyond the narrow, prescribed world she inhabited.  Now, cruelly, she can't help but wonder if she has done anything for which she will be remembered.

At once sad and amusing, unpretentious yet wonderfully ambitions, Miriam Karmel's debut novel brings understanding and tremendous empathy to the unforgettable Esther Lustig.
From the book jacket

Review: I'm not sure what drew me to this book.  I picked it up on the new shelves at the library and then put it back but then picked it up.  I really debated about checking it out.  It finally ended up in my pile of books to take home with me.  I can't say I've read a book before that has entirely been about old age.  There is not too much plot to this book but there is a lot of character development.  I really enjoyed Esther's character.  She made be laugh at times and other times I felt sorry for her.  I think the last paragraph of the book jacket really sums it up.  The author really does help us understand what an 85 year old woman is going through and it makes us feel for her.  But like I said, there's almost no story, it's more about her day to day life and her reminiscing about when she was younger.  It's a pretty quick read but don't go into expecting a great story.

Rating: 3 stars

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