Between Gods: A Memoir

Between Gods A Memoir From the Man Booker nominated author of the novel Far to Go and one of our most talented young writers comes an unflinching moving and unforgettable memoir about family secrets and the rediscovered p

  • Title: Between Gods: A Memoir
  • Author: Alison Pick
  • ISBN: 9780385677882
  • Page: 495
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the Man Booker nominated author of the novel Far to Go and one of our most talented young writers comes an unflinching, moving and unforgettable memoir about family secrets and the rediscovered past Alison Pick was born in the 1970s and raised in a supportive, loving family She grew up laughing with her sister and cousins, and doting on her grandparents Then as aFrom the Man Booker nominated author of the novel Far to Go and one of our most talented young writers comes an unflinching, moving and unforgettable memoir about family secrets and the rediscovered past Alison Pick was born in the 1970s and raised in a supportive, loving family She grew up laughing with her sister and cousins, and doting on her grandparents Then as a teenager, Alison made a discovery that instantly changed her understanding of her family, and her vision for her own life, forever She learned that her Pick grandparents, who had escaped from the Czech Republic during WWII, were Jewish and that most of this side of the family had died in concentration camps She also discovered that her own father had not known of this history until, in his twenties, he had a chance encounter with an old family friend and then he, too, had kept the secret from Alison and her sister.In her early thirties, engaged to be married to her longtime boyfriend but struggling with a crippling depression, Alison slowly but doggedly began to research and uncover her Jewish heritage Eventually she came to realize that her true path forward was to reclaim her history and identity as a Jew But even then, one seemingly insurmountable problem remained her mother wasn t Jewish, so technically Alison wasn t either In this by times raw, by times sublime memoir, Alison recounts her struggle with the meaning of her faith, her journey to convert to Judaism, her battle with depression, and her path towards facing and accepting the past and embracing the future including starting a new family of her own This is her unusual and gripping story, told in crystalline prose and with all the nuance and drama of a novel, but illuminated with heartbreaking insight into the very real lives of the dead, and hard won hope for the lives of all those who carry on after.

    One thought on “Between Gods: A Memoir”

    1. At a time of transition – preparing for her wedding and finishing her first novel, set during the Holocaust – the author decided to convert to Judaism, the faith of her father’s Czech family. There are so many things going on in this sensitive and engrossing memoir: depression, her family’s Holocaust history, her conversion, career struggles, moving to Toronto, adjusting to marriage, and then pregnancy and motherhood following soon after – leading full circle to a time of postpartum de [...]

    2. As a convert to Judaism, I was very interested in reading this book. My aversion to the author is so great that I simply cannot finish it. Whining, privileged, cloying, vaint someone I would want to know in a memoir or otherwise.

    3. This beautiful memoir gracefully touches on so many heavy and deep subjects; depression, conversion to Judaism, familial relationships, cultural and religious heritage, the Holocaust, motherhood. it’s themes are as complex as life itself. This is a memoir borne from a period of introspection and personal conflict in the face of the burdensome conversion road she sets upon. But as Pick’s therapist tells her, ‘there is a time for contemplating life and a time for living it’. I think this b [...]

    4. A really beautiful memoir about depression and finding yourself through religion. Alison Pick writes so beautifully and creatively that you can't help but live along with her, through her depressions, troubles during pregnancy, and journey toward finding herself. For someone who has never been very religious, I'm always very interested in others' religious journeys, and Alison tells a heart-wrenching tale about her journey toward Judaism and how her family's past has called to her all her life. [...]

    5. I can certainly see why Pick has the accolades underher belt. This is a book that is hard to put down. Especially if you are addicted to stories of spiritual quests and long depressive sad lives to compare to your own fucked up life. If you are, and I certainly am, this is the perfect book for you.Pick finds out her grandparents escaped from Czechoslovakia and pretended to be Christians. Her world and faith is rocked when she learns of her Jewish Heritage and that her relatives have died in Ausc [...]

    6. There are many levels on which the reader can read and appreciate Pick's memoir, Between Gods.1) As a psychological memoir, detailing the ups-and-downs of depression, particularly in relation to the spiritual life of humans.2) As a part of the Shoah narrative.3) As a Jewish book, detailing the choices of a convert and connection with various beliefs and practices.Between Gods very much addresses the first two issues so well, I'd like to see it used in classrooms where depression and/or the Shoah [...]

    7. I will put a quote here when the book is publishedI seem to have run the gamut on Christianity over these past few months. I have read a book about grace, one about people who are leaving the church even though they are still believers, another about Christians who are examining the way they see the Bible, and then a book about evangelicals who are trying to change the more conservative wing of Christianity. I read often about my faith, but I have been especially eclectic lately.Which brings me [...]

    8. Thank you, Random House and GoodReads for the free copy!Between Gods is the first thing I've read by Alison Pick, and it won't be the last. Her writing style is vivid, her descriptions are beautiful, and I know now that I'm going to have to read her novels and poetry.What really sticks in my mind are the little moments she included to characterize the people she writes about. The way her father reacted when he watches sad movies, for example, said so much about him.And the same goes for Alison h [...]

    9. Recommended by Lucie for book club. I really wasn't interested in reading this book. At all. But I forced myself to (why I'm not sure as no one else in the book club is going to read it. Sorry Lucie will). But I found it to be very readable and enjoyable. It wasn't just a story about this woman's conversion but also her depression, marriage, parenthood and the questions we all ask ourselves about those things.

    10. After great tragedy, a family comes to Canada, hoping to find a new life, hoping to leave old suffering and old identity behind. This works well for one generation, maybe two. And then hints of what was suppressed begin to surface. But the situation is no longer tragic. Because Canada can be a safe place to confront the past, make peace with it, and choose a future. That’s what Alison, the part of author Alison Pick showcased in the Memoir Between Gods does. She shows how this journey into ide [...]

    11. I saw this book on someone's Top 10 list in a national paper, and borrowed it from the library on a whim. It sat in a pile of books for two weeks while I tried to decide if I wanted to read it. I finally picked it up, and to my surprise, I just couldn't put it down.When Alison Pick was a young woman, she discovered that her grandparents were Jews who fled Europe in 1938 and upon arrival in Canada, hid their history from everyone, going to a Christian church, never telling anyone their true story [...]

    12. "We huggle on the couch - hug + cuddle - and try to memorize the Hebrew letters we've been assigned for our latest Jewish Information Class." It was lines like this, and the constant crying - bucket fulls! - that made me want to throw this book across the room at times. I stayed with it as I was interested in the sense of identity she felt with the Jewish faith and how that would play out for her. Well written and chock full of yet more hideous Holocaust stories, this is not a writer I will be f [...]

    13. Intense emotions and a beautiful journey through depression. Pick takes us through 2 years of her life and her journey to find the faith that speaks to her soul, through her blood. I thought this was going to focus more on religion. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the focus was on her present, on her blood's history, & on finding herself in a faith that is hers. Historical context applies, Holocaust references abound. As someone who has black moods come and go from her life, I apprec [...]

    14. This book really, really resonated with me for some reason - it was like a copy of The Memory Palace that I could actually relate to, and therefore, feel for. Alison's journey is sad and tragic, yet uplifting at the same time - the connections between her past and present are dramatic, yet not overbearing. I loved the relationship she has with her Dad, and how easy they both are with each other. While it didn't really end to my satisfaction, it is still a worthwhile read.

    15. -Memoir by the author, of her journey from being a Christian to her conversion to Judaism, which was the religion of her paternal grandparents. As a young girl, she was told by a Jewish friend that her father was a Jew. She didn't believe it, but didn't learn the full story of her family history until later on.-Her paternal grandparents were from Czechoslovakia and experienced the oppression against the Jews in the early years of WWII. They were to leave with her grandmother's parents, but left [...]

    16. Well written but strange (from my perspective) memoir. Not really a conversion story since there seemed to be no real religious conviction for her to convert from. (She mentions very briefly that she never prayed to Jesus, but only to God as an old man with a beard.) Despite the title, God seemed to have very little place in this book. Basically, a depressive writer, raised culturally Anglican, learns that her father's grandparents were killed in the Holocaust and that his parents decided to giv [...]

    17. It is a thoughtful, detailed book. As I read it, I kept thinking I should have been enjoying it more than I was. I have been deeply moved by other memoirs about religious conversion, but this one lacked the features that made the other ones speak to me. The author is not rejecting a faith that is a bad fit for her, nor is she embracing a faith that speaks to her soul. (Or if she is, that part wasn't well expressed.) Instead, she is rejoining a tribe, donning a new culture, in solidarity with anc [...]

    18. Well written and engaging memoir about Ms. Pick discovering the truth of her Jewish roots and her spiritual quest to become a Jew. At the heart of the memoir is her family's abandonment of the faith because of the Holocaust and emigration to Canada.The trials and tribulations of being accepted by the Jewish community is engagingly written. My hesitation about the book is understanding her racial memory that causes her to feel a Jew even though not being brought up or instructed in it at all. I a [...]

    19. Fascinating, well-written memoir of embracing Judaism by the author. The questions posed by her choice to pursue conversion are coherently addressed in the telling of her story. Reads like fiction but rings like truth, her truth. She found it.

    20. A Journey TakenThe road to conversion can be long, sometimes painful but ultimately rewarding. It is this journey the author invites us to travel with her. I learned much as I walked with Alison on her path to a new life.

    21. This overwrought book is well-written, I grant it that. Pick's prose is a pleasure to read. However, I found myself annoyed at the first 10 or so chapters. To understand, a bit of history needs telling.The author decides, in adulthood, that she wants to convert to Judaism when she accidentally discovered that her father's family had been Jewish until the Nazis took over in Czechoslovakia. Then they converted to Catholicism and managed to escape to Canada, where they fearfully constructed a Chris [...]

    22. This was the interesting account of Alison Pick’s self-discovery and discovery of Judaism during a tumultuous period of her life. This memoir was extremely well written and engaging, despite having a lackluster plot. The reason I did not enjoy it more is because, like many people who convert or discover religion, Pick came across as somewhat of a zealot who missed some of the nuance of Judaism as experienced by people who grew up in it. There were many points where I really wanted to debate he [...]

    23. Alison Pick grew up not knowing about her Jewish ancestry, but all the time feeling that Judaism was a very good fit for her, even though she had not been brought up in the faith. In her autobiography, a snapshot of one small period in her life, she describes her quest to be accepted into the Jewish faith. At this time Alison marries and becomes a mother. Her debut novel ‘Far to Go’ is published and becomes a prize-winner.It is her hearts desire to be accepted into her chosen faith, but even [...]

    24. My Review: As soon as I saw this book in a Featured Reads pamphlet at my local library where I work I knew that I wanted to read it. Canadian memoir, set in the beautiful backdrop of Toronto and dealing with such a deep personal crisis? I'm in!I have never read a book by Pick before but I was impressed with her writing and the emotion that she easily conveys to her readers as she struggled with her crisis of faith as well as debilitating depression. Her struggle to find out who she is and where [...]

    25. Writing This book is beautifully written. Pick is a poet and her writing is reflective of that. Her language is nuanced and lyrical but she doesn't come across as overly descriptive or flowery, which is important to me. One of my sticking points in reviewing memoir is that the author show honesty and an attempt to reveal themselves, even if it's not always pretty. I think Pick succeeds at that entirely. She reveals both the good and the bad and doesn't ever seem to censor her story to portray he [...]

    26. I've read a lot of memoirs on all type of subjects, except none of them have moved me as much as this day. I couldn't seem to put it down, which in some ways makes me a little sad, because I wish I was still reading it.Alison Pick, the author, is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Except when her grandparents escaped to Canada, they lived as Christians in an attempt to fit in and forget about what they lost. Both Alison, and her father, were raised as Christian, except as Alison is resear [...]

    27. This is my first book approval through Netgalley. I was very excited to get an advance copy of Pick's book and for an opportunity to read this book. I have been wanting to read Pick's Far to Go for a long time but have not yet gotten around to it. This book is a memoir that actually takes place while Pick was writing Far to Go. It is a very personal account of a few years in Pick's life that take us through her feelings about her family's experience with the holocaust and how it led her father's [...]

    28. For anyone who is considering converting to Judaism, I think this would be a very good book to read. It's detailed both about process and about the emotional journey that's inevitable, particularly if the spouse is not Jewish. For the rest of us, Between Gods: A Memoir is a really insightful window into Alison Pick's own personal journey; it's an honest and engaging read. I was quite captivated by her spiritual journey, dedication and desires. I knew Alison a little bit in high school -- what I [...]

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