Monday, July 9, 2012
Review: The Innocents
The Innocents by Francesca Segal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Innocents shows what life is like in the Jewish community of NW London. It’s this lifestyle that has shaped Adam. Adam’s only thoughts seem to be about doing what is expected of him…but he doesn’t see these thoughts as an expectation, so much, as just a given. He doesn’t question it consciously, but unconsciously I think he does. What wakes him up out of this fugue state is the arrival of the “wild child” cousin, of his fiancé, who has been raised and basically abandoned in New York.
Family and work obligations force Adam to spend time with Ellie. It isn’t long before Adam starts to look for opportunities to spend time with Ellie. Ellie unknowingly forces Adam to examine his life and he’s not thrilled with what he discovers.
Adam is such a lovable guy. He is man of worth, honorable, moral, smart, good looking…he is a real catch and doesn’t even know it. He is so entrenched in everyone’s expectations for him but yet doesn’t realize it. When he wakes up and starts to think about what he may actually want, it becomes an internal battle.
Rachel is Adam’s equal, she loves her life and wants the same marriage her Mom and Dad have. She is more concerned with wedding prep, and then being the perfect wife and mother, that she is oblivious to what is going on with Adam. I did get frustrated with her at times, but I believe that was intentional.
Segal based this story on Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence, which I have not read. Segal’s writing is superb…I loved all the explanations the author gives for everything. She wants us to really understand the world Adam is living in and why he makes the choices he does. In fact it was the Jewish culture that drew my attention to this book. This was a tremendously engaging read that I would highly recommend.
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Posted by Pam Steinke at 12:45 PM