Disobedience by Naomi Alderman

About the book

A small, close-knit Orthodox Jewish community in London is the setting for a revealing look at religion and sexuality in Alderman’s frank yet heartfelt debut novel, Disobedience. The story begins with the death of the community’s esteemed rabbi, which sets in motion plans for a memorial service and the search for a replacement. The rabbi’s nephew and likely successor, Dovid, calls his cousin Ronit in New York to tell her that her father has died. Ronit, who left the community long ago to build a life for herself as a career woman, returns home when she hears the news, and her reappearance exposes tears in the fabric of the community.

Review by Mums Reading Group

Although an interesting subject we found the plot predictable. The anticipated ‘showdown’ ending didn’t happen . An OK novel which taught us an awful lot about the Jewish culture, but as a story it was a little dull.

Star rating: **

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3 thoughts on “Disobedience by Naomi Alderman”

  1. Review by Brats Et Al
    We all enjoyed this book. Those who had lived in areas of London with large Jewish communities felt they could recognise many of the characters in the story. We found it interesting to learn about aspects of orthodox life, though two of the group who had read books by Chaim Potok felt that these gave a greater understanding to orthodox Jewish life. We enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, though there were one or two places where we felt that these were quantum leaps which made them less plausible. Opinion was divided as to whether we would want to read another book by this author.
    Star rating: ***


  2. Review by October Books reading group
    Everyone enjoyed this book, though there was some disagreement about how substantial the characterisation is. Most found it an interesting story, and welcomed the chance to learn more about this little known (to most people) community. (It was suggested that a glossary would be useful, possible at the expense of the recipes.) Although the story is told mainly from the viewpoint of Ronit, it is Esti who emerges as the central character in some ways. Recommended.
    Star rating: ***


  3. Review by Novel Characters
    Good, well written insight into Jewish culture and women’s role in their society.
    Star rating: ***


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