Wednesday, December 8, 2010
In the Beginning by Chaim Potok
"Be patient, David. All beginnings are hard. You cannot swallow all the world at one time." (pg 1)
Essentially, In the Beginning is a coming of age story about David Lurie, a Jewish boy growing up in New York between the world wars. David is brilliant and constantly ill - resulting in an incredibly rich intellectual and emotional life. Potok does such an amazing job describing how David feels when he is lying sick in bed with headaches and fevers that you almost feel sick just reading it - seriously! some of the passages make you want to lie down in a darkened room with a cold cloth on your eyes and the comforting murmer of your mom singing in the background!
When I read this book before, I related to David - his attempts to understand the intensely political adult world around him, his confusion about who he would be and how he would fit into this world. When I read the book again now, I found myself putting myself in his parents' shoes - struggling to find the balance between educating and sheltering my children from this turbulent adult world, balancing the various needs of my family, feeling pulled between the demands of extended family and the demands of immediate family and worrying about my children's futures.
A brilliantly written book. Highly recommended.