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Places We Left Behind: a memoir-in-miniature


Loved it! 😍

"Places We Left Behind" relates the complex relationships of those who dwell in the greys of religion

Places We Left Behind is the autobiography of Jewish-American author Jennifer Lang. Skipping swiftly over the first eighteen years of her life, the book picks up Lang's story in Israel, meeting the charming Frenchman Phillippe for the first time. What follows is a 140 page rollercoaster as Lang navigates the tricky line between the religious faith and living a seemingly ordinary existence as an American citizen, culminating in Lang having to make a significant decision, one which will affect the very core of what it means to be a Jewish woman in the twenty-first century.

This book has many likeable qualities, not least Lang's ability in capturing emotion in a way that is both direct and to the point. Where many authors would skirt over details or shy away from exposing themselves to the reader, Places We Left Behind makes it clear that no matter the romanticism, no relationship is smooth sailing. Even those grounded in a mutual connection of faith and religion can so easily hit turbulence. Lang's words demonstrate these challenges, placed alongside those who do not fully understand what it means to hold religion as a cornerstone of family life.

Lang's memoir is dotted in places with poetic excerpts, possibly to add emphasis. Within Places We Left Behind, these were a somewhat distracting, especially after reading long spells of traditional prose formatted in conventional paragraphs. It might be others enjoy the sudden change, but personally it does not hold enough significance versus if they had been written in conventional prose instead.

Places We Left Behind is an interesting memoir for anyone living within, or wanting to better understand, day-to-day Judaism. For those who see faith as black or white, purist believer or not, Places We Left Behind shows us the complex relationships of those who dwell in the grey.

AEB Reviews

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About the author

California transplant in Tel Aviv, Jennifer Lang's prize-winning essays appear in Baltimore Review, Under the Sun, Midway Journal, and elsewhere. MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and Assistant Editor at Brevity Journal. Runs israelwriterstudio.com. Longtime yoga practitioner and instructor. view profile

Published on September 05, 2023

Published by Vine Leaves Press

10000 words

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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