Writer: Pearl Abraham
Rachel: Rachel is the main character in the story. She is the Rabbi’s oldest daughter. This gives her a lot of responsibilities. When her parents are not at home, she and her younger sister Leah have to take care of the house and the children. Rachel doesn’t behave like a normal Jewish girl should. She reads English novels that are banned, she eats on Shabbat and does other things her parents don’t want her to do. Her biggest wish is to live on her own and be free. She thinks she’ll be free after she gets married, but it doesn’t work out the way she thinks.
Leah: After Rachel, Leah is the oldest daughter, so also she has to do a lot in the house. Next to Rachel, Leah looks like a perfect Jewish girl, but she actually isn’t. She also reads the forbidden books and she helps Rachel by covering for her when she goes to the library. Leah takes Rachel as her example.
Father: Rachel’s father is a Rabbi. This is a very important person in a Jewish community. He is a man that seems not to be interested in his family, but that’s not true. He loves Rachel’s mother as much as she loves him, but it is not acceptable to show it. The Rabbi tries to control Rachel, but he fails because she doesn’t listen to him.
Mother: Rachel’s mother does everything to make people think her children are brought up well. She seems not to love father, but she does, and she also loves her children. She is afraid of Rachel not wanting to get married and doing forbidden things. She want her child just to be like she should be, like a normal Jewish girl.
Mr. Gartner: After Leah and Rachel took lifeguard lessons, they tried to find jobs. Mr. Gartner offered them a job at his swimming pool. Rachel totally falls in love with him, but he’s married and she doesn’t have any chance.
Israel: Israel is the guy Rachel is getting married to. She doesn’t really like him and even before she gets married she already thinks of a divorce. Israel doesn’t know how to treat a wife and he tells everything Rachel does to her father. The Rabbi gives him advice and makes Israel feel like a son to him. Rachel hates this and she runs away after a few weeks.
The most important thing in the book is that Rachel is the Rabbi’s daughter and that she does everything she is not allowed to. Not only reading books, but also not wearing a kerchief after she got married, she didn’t even want to shave her head. She wears a bathing suit in public, which is not allowed for Jewish girls and surely not for a Rabbi’s daughter. The main thing in the story is that people sometimes don’t want to be who they are. Look at Rachel, she is born as a Rabbi’s daughter, but she doesn’t like anything of it. The book is about not liking who you are, and how to deal with it.
The romance reader is a book very specific about another culture. This is not the reason why I liked it. Most books about other cultures don’t interest me at all. In this book, you feel like you are the main character yourself. Even though it is written in the third person (she does this, she thinks…) and not in the first (I do… I think…), you can still really feel what Rachel thinks and feels. I like this because you can think of what it going to happen after. You can think of the story as if it is your own life. The theme of the book doesn’t interest me much and I usually don’t read books like
How would I convince people of my age that the Romance Reader is a great book?
The Romance Reader is a very interesting book about a young girl, Rachel, who is not satisfied with her life. By trying things she isn’t allowed to do, she tries to find the real ‘Rachel’. After reading this book, you know a lot more about Jewish communities and how important it is that you are accepted in that community. All the people in the community know each other and it is very difficult to do something without being noticed by one of the members of this Jewish community. The book makes you understand people like Rachel, her father and the rest of her family, which is very useful in everyday life. If you understand people, it is easier to talk with them and to work with them. People like businessmen have to be able to talk to all kinds of people and know how to behave in all situations. Understanding people from different cultures helps them to do this, so it is very useful to read about those people. The romance reader is one of the best example of a book in which is shown how people in other kinds of communities behave.
I would like to identify myself with…
I would like to identify myself with Leah. She seems to be a sweet girl that fits perfectly to her life, but if you read more about her, you start to find out that she has some bad sides as well, just like Rachel. Leah has a difficult life. She wants to satisfy her mother, but she also wants to be a good little sister to Rachel. She is in between being a good girl and a good sister. If Leah does something for Rachel, her mothers gets angry, but if she doesn’t help her big sister, Rachel gets mad at her and that’s something she really doesn’t want to happen. She feels guilty when she can’t cover for Rachel and she feels happy about it because now her mother won’t be mad at her. I think everybody will feel like this at least a few times in their lives Sometimes you just don’t know which side you have to choose, and I think Leah is in the middle all the time. I don’t think I am exactly like that, I mostly know what I think and what side I choose, but sometimes I don’t, and then I am a bit like Leah.
My own ending to the story…
Seeing his deep blue eyes, Rachel knows this is him. The guy Elke, she was looking for. He looks gorgeous in his dark blue suit that perfectly matched to his eyes. Those eyes! Rachel feels a hand in her back, pushing her through the door, towards Israel. She hears the door is closed behind her. They are alone. Just the two of them together in this small room. Suddenly Rachel feels the panic. ‘What should I say to him? What if he doesn’t want me anymore?’ With her hands shaking she walks towards the table. ‘Have a seat’ Israel says, looking at her. Without saying a word, Rachel sinks into the chair. Israel smiles. ‘I guess you are just as nervous as I am?’ he asks her and Rachel nods. She smiles back and feels her knees shaking. ‘I think you already know you are not the first girl I ask to marry me. But you probably don’t know that all the girls before you had something I didn’t like. This made me sick, I didn’t want to marry a girl I didn’t love, therefore I made sure they didn’t like me so they would dismiss me.’ When Israel starts to talk, his hand move on his words. ‘No, I didn’t know that.’ Rachel says quietly without looking at him. Her cheeks turn red and she doesn’t want him to notice. ‘Well, you now know why I am here, can you please tell me something about you?’ Israel asks with his beautiful smile. He sweeps a strand of his dark hair out of his face and looks at Rachel. ‘I don’t have a clue why you are here, the only thing you told me is that none of the girls before me were nice enough to marry.’ Rachel thinks. She looks back at Israel and sees he’s smiling. Stuttering she tries to say his smile is beautiful. This makes him smile even more. ‘You are a sweet girl, you know? I don’t know why people say you are a shame for the Rabbi. But I have to say, with that face, I think you can get a lot better then me. If you want to marry me, I’m a lucky man.’ Israel stands up and walks towards her. ‘Of course it is not official yet, but I still would like to know: Will you marry me?’ Rachel looks at him, at his face, at this beautiful face with his beautiful smile and his eyes like dark blue oceans. She stands up and sees how tall he is, more than a head taller than she is. She likes tall men, but even if Israel would have been shorter than she is, she would have loved to say yes. ‘Yes Israel, I’ll marry you, I’ll become your wife and bring up your children.’ She says with a smile. The look in Israel’s eyes softens. ‘Our children, Rachel. I’m very happy, that I finally found you.’ He moves his face close to Rachel’s. Rachel knows she shouldn’t do this. Not before the marriage, but she can’t resist. She closes her eyes and the only thing she thinks of are Israel’s lips. When she opens her eyes again, she sees the blue ocean in front of her, and she knows she made the best decision she ever made.