Book review: Disobedience

By Naomi Alderman

Synopsis: By the age of 32, Ronit has left London and transformed her life. She has become a cigarette-smoking, wise-cracking, New York career woman, who is in love with a married man.But when Ronit's father dies she is called back into the very different world of her childhood, a world she thought she had left far behind. The orthodox Jewish suburb of Hendon, north London is outraged by Ronit and her provocative ways. But Ronit is shocked too by the confrontation with her past. And when she meets up with her childhood girlfriend Esti, she is forced to think again about what she has left behind.

How did this book end up in my hands? It usually happens that I watch a film and then think ‘I wish I had read the book first’. Well, this time I decided to do something about it and I read the book while waiting for the film to come out at the cinema. 

Was it a page-turner? I listened to the audio version of the book with my wife and the only times when it wasn’t playing were when she was at work. So I guess that’s a yes! 

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? My expectations were more based on the trailer I had seen for the film and I can already say that the book is better!

Did I like the ending? [no spoilers] Yes, I do like an ending capable of surprising me and this one definitely did.

Three words to describe it. Brave. Evocative. Tender.

Do I like the cover? The audiobook cover picture on BorrowBox is a still from the film and – as much as I like it – I prefer the paperback cover pictured here on the right.

Have I read any other books by the same author? No. Another wrong to right!

Will I be recommending this book? Yes, it offers a fascinating glimpse of the London Jewish community and it elegantly describes the struggle of lesbian women who live in strict religious societies. I believe, however, that this is a novel that defies any labels. Ultimately, it is a novel about human nature and it is a pleasure to read.

Anything else? Yes! Watch the video below to see the author being interviewed at a screening of the film:


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