Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots

Written by:
Deborah Feldman
Narrated by:
Rachel Botchan

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2020
10 hours 40 minutes
Now a Netflix original series!

Unorthodox is the bestselling memoir of a young Jewish woman’s escape from a religious sect, in the tradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel and Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, featuring a new epilogue by the author.

As a member of the strictly religious Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, Deborah Feldman grew up under a code of relentlessly enforced customs governing everything from what she could wear and to whom she could speak to what she was allowed to read. Yet in spite of her repressive upbringing, Deborah grew into an independent-minded young woman whose stolen moments reading about the empowered literary characters of Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott helped her to imagine an alternative way of life among the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Trapped as a teenager in a sexually and emotionally dysfunctional marriage to a man she barely knew, the tension between Deborah’s desires and her responsibilities as a good Satmar girl grew more explosive until she gave birth at nineteen and realized that, regardless of the obstacles, she would have to forge a path—for herself and her son—to happiness and freedom.

Remarkable and fascinating, this “sensitive and memorable coming-of-age story” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) is one you won’t be able to put down.
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Renee C.

I watched the Netflix version before listening to this book. Midway through the stories begin to vary quite a bit but the overall theme is the same. I enjoyed hearing what really happened to her and her child. The book gives a lot more insight into her upbringing as well. Really interesting.

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Gladyz G.

The scenarios drag and the narrator is hard to follow. Just doesn't make it interesting.

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Krista Kesseler

The book Unorthodox is a captivating story of a young woman's journey battling Vaginismus brought on by her strict Hasidic Judaism upbringing. I'm disappointed that the Netflix series steered so far away from the original content because her actual story is interesting enough on its own without all of the extra embellishment. I listened to the whole thing in just three sittings.

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Angela P.

While it did lag on at some parts, it is a pretty powerful memoir. I’ll be interested to check out the Netflix mini-series.

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Alfreeka W.

More detailed than the movie. Great listen

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Susan Tyler

I learned a lot about the dysfunction extreme controlling religion

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Melissa M.

Great story! Excellent narration! I learned a lot while listening to this book and, although I have never been part of the Hasidic Jewish faith or experienced anything like what the author experienced, I found I could relate very easily to her thoughts and feelings. Highly recommend.

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Lynn C.

I think this was a great book. Very interesting to me. Loved the narrator.

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Christina F.

Loved the additional detail that the book had compared to the Netflix version (which I also enjoyed). Looking forward to listening to her next book.

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