Between Gods by Alison Pick

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We all have secrets. Often they are personal, things you don’t want to admit to your family and friends. But sometimes those secrets are much larger, spanning generations within a family. That’s the kind of secret Alison Pick talks about in her memoir, Between Gods. Pick discovered that her grandparents had survived the Holocaust by coming to North America. North America in the 1940’s was particularly anti-Semitic, so her grandparents had to renounce their faith to blend in with the Christian families around them.

 Between Gods, Alison Pick

As she is researching her new book, Pick finds herself in a deep depression; she is haunted by the losses her family suffered during the Second World War, chief of which is the loss of their faith. She finds herself drawn more and more towards Judaism, a lost Jewish soul looking for her way back home. But the path before her is a difficult one: Pick is only sort of Jewish because her mother is Christian. She’s also going to marry her Gentile fiancé Degan. To become Jewish she has to formally convert. But the Jewish court (the beit din) will not agree to an intermarriage, fearing that it would drive a wedge between the couple. This means that even though her fiancé is very supportive of her desire to convert, to be welcomed into the Jewish faith, he will have to convert as well. And as supportive as he is, he’s not sure that he wants to.

 

Between Gods is Pick’s journey out of the depths of depression as she struggles to find her people and herself. The text is beautifully written and at times haunting; Pick’s story will stay with you for a long time after you finish it.

 

Shauna Kosoris is a member of the Thunder Bay Public Library staff.

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