Author: Eishes Chayil
Release Date: September 2010
Published By: Walker Children
Goodreads Rating: 3.96 stars
Review: Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, everyone abides by the strict rules laid down in an ancient text thousands of years ago. But one thing not covered is abuse, and when Gittel learns of the abuse affecting her best friend, she doesn't know what to do. Everyone around her tries to persuade her it's nothing and to forget about it, but as she's continually confronted by the situation and her own overwhelming guilt, she begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
I'm not entirely sure why - perhaps it had something to do with the cover - but when I started this book, I thought it was going to be a dystopian novel. I was certainly far off the mark! But even though this was not what I expected, I found myself loving this book far beyond my anticipations. HUSH was truly eye-opening, a novel told through elegant writing that slowly peeled away the layers of this dark, dark story.
There are a lot of books out there that cover topics like abuse, ranging from within a family to external forces, but HUSH provided a unique look at this issue by telling a story about the not-so-well-known Chassidim culture. I am not a religious person and didn't know much about this type of community, so I really appreciated getting the opportunity to learn about it, especially because it seemed to be an unbiased view, highlighting both the positive and negative aspects of the culture.
This book's most obvious aspect, of course, is how emotionally wrenching the storyline is. It is very difficult to get through all these pages without crying or at the very least tearing up at some points during this beautiful and moving story. Gittel was a fantastic narrator, and through her voice the reader can glean information not only about the events and people around her but her own complex character.
All in all, HUSH was a phenomenal story, the rare kind of book that you can only come across once in a while. It is moving and complex, with an emotional beauty that will rock even the hardest of hearts. I cannot recommend this book enough, and encourage everyone, particularly fans of "issues" books, to give it a try.