December 16, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: "Finding the Grain", by Shulamit Hartal


This was not at all the story I was expecting - it was better!

It's about psychology, anxiety, worry, wonder, friendships, faith, and love.

Oh, and let's not forget hate. Hate is deeply rooted in one's psyche, sometimes so deeply hidden, we have no idea that the hate is what has made us the way we are.

Follow Chani as she goes through these ups and downs with her mother, and other people she encounters. She eventually finds out what has been driving her to be the person she is.

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Book Description :

One day Chani Tavin, a sculptress in late middle age, has a fortunate accident when she literally trips over a pile of psychology books at the local recycling center. Despite hurting her foot in the fall, she is more fascinated than aggravated since it sparks off a vast change in her life. Oblivious to the pain, Chani takes the pile home, climbs into bed and plunges into them, applying the psychology she is learning to unravel the secrets of her own life. 

As Chani re-examines her life, she revisits her childhood. The emotional wasteland of the conditions in which she grew up and the terrors to which she was regularly subjected rise up to confront her: an unpredictable and tyrannical mother, her two defiant sisters who managed to do what she could not – break away -- and her absentee father. Chani starts to see her own life in perspective, and she has to learn how to embrace and forgive herself for feelings she still carries from when she was a very young child and one thread of the plot follows this journey of self-discovery. However, just when Chani achieves a startling insight in understanding her past, she dies unexpectedly the following day. 

The story is set in the frame of the 7- day period of mourning, the shiva, that follows Chani Tavin’s death and it encompasses including various dramatic and revealing conversations between the family of the narrator and her friends and neighbors. 

The heroine of Finding the Grain, a “blind chicken” who cannot forget her mother’s devastating pronouncement that she was so ugly it was “impossible to do anything with her” or, “Who would want you? Well, even a blind chicken finds the grain in the end,” – is herself no spring chicken. Chani Tavin is testimony to the fact that it is never too late to learn, even as the mother of grown up children and a teenage grandchild. 

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