Reinhardt, Dana. A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review

REINHARDT, Dana. A brief chapter in my impossible life. Random House, Wendy Lamb. 228p. c2006.0-385-74698-9. $15.95. SA*

This is an outstanding first novel by an enormously talented writer, described in the foreword as a "nonpracticing attorney who has worked on documentaries about many subjects, including genocide in Rwanda...." She sounds very much like the character she creates of Simone's adoptive mother, an attorney for the ACLU in the Boston area. Simone is a brilliant 16-year-old, wise and funny; she is the narrator of this story of how she comes to know her birth mother, how she grows to love her and then must lose her. All readers will be drawn to Simone's story from the first few pages, in which she describes her family, the family she knows and loves. Because this family is so dear to her, she has no interest in meeting her birth mother, even though her parents tell her that this mother, Rivka, has called and would like to meet her. They continue to press Simone as the days go by; eventually Simone telephones Rivka and the story of Simone's adoption unfolds. Rivka is from a Hasidic family and in the years since her teenage pregnancy she has been estranged from her family. She still cherishes the rituals of Shabbat, which she introduces to Simone, who has been raised in a...

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