This Is Not a Love Story by Judy Brown
This most certainly is a love story. It’s also a coming-of-age story, a family’s story, and a story of struggling through the unknown.
Judy Brown’s memoir instills her own voice and past in Menuchah. Menuchah is one of six children in an ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn family, and she tells her story with the earnestness, naivete, humor, and gentleness of a sheltered eight-year-old.
Menuchah’s parents have committed the horrible sin of falling in love and going against tradition by not having their match preordained in Heaven. Her mother is from a prestigious Hasidic dynasty and her father is a poor Israeli soldier. For this flagrancy, they are cursed by having a “crazy” son, Nachum. Nachum’s existence causes turmoil for the family, their home, and their lives, and his behavior—rages, head banging, lack of language, and destructive tendencies—take their toll. The parents argue, friends won’t come over, the household lives on the edge, havoc reigns, and “good” marriages will be almost impossible to arrange.