In this honest, daring, and compulsively readable memoir, Reva Mann paints a portrait of herself as a young woman on the edge—of either revelation or self-destruction. Ricocheting between extremes of rebellion and piety, she is on a difficult but life-changing journey to inner truth.
The journey began with an unhappy childhood in a family where religion set the tone and deviations from it were not allowed. But Reva, a granddaughter of the head of the Rabbinic Council of Israel and daughter of a highly respected London rabbi, was a wild child and she rebelled, spiralling into a whirlwind of sex and drugs by the time she reached adolescence.
As a young woman, however, Reva had a startling mystical epiphany that led her to a women’s yeshivah in Israel, and eventually to marriage to the devoutly religious Torah scholar who she thought would take her to ever greater heights of spirituality. But can the path to spiritual fulfillment ever be compatible with the ecstasies of the flesh or with the everyday joys of intimacy and pleasure to which she is also strongly drawn? With unflinching candor, Reva shares her struggle to carve out a life that encompasses all the impulses at war within herself.
An eye-opening glimpse into the world of the ultra-Orthodox and their elaborately coded rituals for eating, sleeping, bathing, and lovemaking, as well as a deeply personal rumination on identity, faith, and self-acceptance, this is at its heart a universal story. For those of any faith who have grappled with their own spiritual longings, and for anyone fascinated by traditional religion and its role in modern society, Reva Mann’s chronicle of a journey toward redemption is an unforgettable read.
From the Hardcover edition.