It's in the "Modern Love" column of the Sunday Times. It's by LEAH VINCENT. It's not shocking or dramatic. It adds to the women's memoir genre: "Look at me I escaped from Orthodoxy and now have sex with random men and eat non-kosher food."
The short Times essay comes from a longer book, soon to be published. Here is a (shocking?) representative passage:
...Later, as we lay together in a tangle of sheets, I said: “Man, that was good. Why didn’t we work out again?” I hadn’t forgotten about his girlfriend or his criticism, but I felt nostalgic for what seemed like a missed opportunity between us. I still had no man in my life, and in the oxytocin haze, I wondered if maybe Luke and I could make it work.This kind of strange coming of age narrative may work for readers. I don't have the capacity to judge it as effective literature.
Luke turned on his side and put a sympathetic finger on my ribs. “I’m afraid you’re a little too intense for me,” he said. “I’m afraid that your hunger for this, for me, is your attempt to fill some hunger in yourself that only you can fill.”
“You don’t know anything about me,” I said. I had told him a little about my past. It was hard to prevent some pieces of my history from filtering into my conversation. But I didn’t think he really understood me.
His palm slid around the contours of my shoulders. “I get what you’ve been through. I have a theory about what happened. I think your dad saw you hit puberty, and he couldn’t handle you turning into the woman you are, so he pushed you out.” His hand slid down my side, but I moved away....
What strikes me is the assumed dramatic motive behind the writing. That is to say the idea that it is so hard to escape from Orthodox Judaism.
That theme is credible to me. It is hard. I know Orthodox Judaism well. It is a "sticky" religion with deeply held myriads of propounded rules and codes. Not easy to walk away from that.
So the "desperate need for redemption" angle of the writing in the Times works for me as credible. The rest of the story does not impress me. Help! Am I right or have I missed something?