"It's just unbelievable that this is a real story... And how she gets out and figures out how to live on her own. It's just, my god, fascinating. You think: Would I have been able to do that? I'm all for loose clothing, that I could do, but everything else? It's one of those books you read and can't put down."
-- Joan Rivers, Comedian and author of I Hate Everyone, Starting with Me
"[Deborah Feldman's] is an extraordinary story of struggle and dream.. Both her escape and her decision to tell her story are magnificent acts of courage."
-- Anouk Markovits, author of I Am Forbidden, full review here.
"[Feldman's] book movingly captures the feeling of living with a secret self."
- Tova Mirvis, author of The Ladies Auxiliary
One of O magazine's "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"
“[Feldman’s] matter-of-fact style masks some penetrating insights.”
-- The New York Times
“An unprecedented view into a Hasidic community that few outsiders ever experience. . . . Unorthodox reminds us that there are religious communities in the United States that restrict young women to marriage and motherhood. These women are expected to be obedient to their community and religion, without question or complaint, no matter the price.”
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune
-- Marie Claire
“Eloquent, appealing, and just emotional enough . . . No doubt girls all over Brooklyn are buying this book, hiding it under their mattresses, reading it after lights out--and contemplating, perhaps for the first time, their own escape.”
"Deborah Feldman has stripped the cloak off the insular Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, offering outsiders the rare glimpse into the ultraconservative world in which she was raised."
-- Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"Unorthodox is consistently engaging. And the very fact of it is touching. For years . . . [Feldman] examined library shelves, marveling that there were so many men and women who believed in their ‘innate right . . . to speak their mind in whatever way they saw fit.’ That she has joined their ranks is remarkable indeed.”
“Denied every kind of nourishment except the doughy, shimmering plates of food obsessively produced by her Holocaust-survivor grandmother . . . books nourish [Feldman’s] spirit and put in her hands the liberatory power of storytelling. As she becomes a reader and then a writer, Feldman reinvents herself as a human being.”
-- Newsday (New York)
"Imagine Frank McCourt as a Jewish virgin, and you've got "Unorthodox" in a nutshell: Wretched upbringing in an ethnic enclave yields bright new talent. Hers is a search for happiness, not a hookup; it's a sensitive and memorable coming-of-age story in the tradition of Anzia Yezierska's 1925 "The Bread Givers" and Betty Smith's 1943 classic, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“[Feldman’s] no-holds-barred memoir hits bookstores on February 14th. And it’s not exactly a Valentine to the insular world of shtreimels, sheitels and shtiebels. Instead, [Unorthodox] describes an oppressive community in which secular education is minimal, outsiders are feared and disdained, English-language books are forbidden, mental illness is left untreated, abuse and other crimes go unreported . . . a surprisingly moving, well-written and vivid coming-of-age tale.”
-- The Jewish Week
"[Unorthodox] provides a window into a world not many of us know about or can fathom. [Feldman's] story, slow at first, invites us into the homes and mindsets of the Satmar people, at times wholesome and warm and at others lonely, shocking, and disturbing. Feldman is reflective, never mincing words, saying exactly how she feels about everything. For a woman with little formal secular education, her writing is eloquent and stirring. The book is worth a read."
- Jewish Book Council
“Unorthodox is a fascinating book . . . Feldman’s voice resonates throughout.”
-- The Jewish Daily Forward
“Unorthodox is painfully good. . . .Unlike so many other authors who have left Orthodoxy and written about it, [Feldman’s] heart is not hardened by hatred, and her spirit is wounded but intact. . . . She is a sensitive and talented writer.”
“Compulsively readable, Unorthodox relates a unique coming-of-age story that manages to speak personally to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in her own life. Feldman bravely lays her soul bare, unflinchingly sharing intimate thoughts and ideas unthinkable within the deeply religious existence of the Satmars. . . . Teens will devour this candid, detailed memoir of an insular way of life so unlike that of the surrounding society.”
—School Library Journal
“Feldman’s evolution as well as her look inside a closed community make for fascinating reading…her storyteller’s sense and a keen eye for details give readers a you-are-there sense of what it is like to be different when everyone else is the same.” —Booklist
“Feldman gives us special insight into a closed and
repressive world…Her memoir is fresh and tart and utterly absorbing.”—Library Journal
“Nicely written memoir…Feldman offers this engaging and at times gripping insight into Brooklyn’s Hasidic community.”—Publishers Weekly
“A remarkable tale.” —Kirkus Reviews