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A True Woman Of Valor

Many of you may have read Hush, a book that tells the harrowing story of a young girl named Gittel who witnesses the sexual abuse of her best friend.  She does not truly understand what she has seen, only knows that it is not right and her friend is suffering.  As an Orthodox Jew growing up in an extremely isolated and insular Brooklyn neighborhood, Gittel is completely unequipped to support her friend.   Sexual abuse does not happen in her world; it has no name and thus cannot be identified or stopped.  When Gittel’s friend commits suicide, she is torn between the love she has for her friend and the loyalty to her people and religion.

Hush is a fictionalized version of events experienced by the author when she was young.  The book was published under the pseudonym of Eishes Chayil, which translates as “woman of valor.”   She chose to remain anonymous to protect herself and her family from the backlash and threats she knew would come once the book was published.  On August 1, this article appeared in the Huffington Post in which Chayil reveals her true name.  Unable to remain silent in the wake of the recent tragic event in the Orthodox Jewish community in which she lives, Chayil chose to reveal her name in hopes that her community will finally take action against those that hurt others.  This may sound like a small thing, but to a young woman who likely faces expulsion from her community as a result, it is incredibly brave.  A woman of valor, indeed.

Hush was a finalist for the 2011 William C. Morris YA Debut Award.  Please make time to read this compelling and important book if you haven’t already.

– Summer Hayes, currently reading To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story by Casey Scieska and Steven Weinberg

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  1. Becky Becky

    A very well-written post. This was an incredible book that took me a long time to read, but that I still think about often.

  2. I reviewed this book for TeenReads and thought it was amazing. Thanks so much for posting this update and recommendation for others. It was one of the most amazing books I’ve read in recent years.

  3. Kelly Kelly

    Thank you for the post. This book has been on my ‘to read’ list for a long time but the article she wrote that you posted made me put it on hold immediately. I read it in one day. My only regret was that I kept more Kleenexes by my side.

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