Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book Review: Life Is A Test (Audio Book)

I've had the privileged of hearing Rebbetzin Ester Jungreis speak on two occasions.  The first was several years back, and the other this past September.

I have to admit, the first time I had no idea who the Rebbetzin was and why my friend who told me about the event was so insistent I attend.  However, by the end of the evening it was not a secret as to why.  So, when I heard she would be making an appearance again at a local shul, there was no question in my mind as to whether or not I would be in attendance.  Even if I had to move mountains, I would make sure I was at the event.

Now, I realize that this post is about the book, Life Is A Test, and not about the Rebbetzin's speaking engagements, however reading (or listening) to her book is just like being in the same room with Rebbetzin Jugreis.  The way she speaks to an audience is the same way she conveys her thoughts in writing - with warmth and compassion.

It's hard for me to sum-up this book because the subject matter in which the book deals with is so personal and complex.  Simply put, this book talks about the challenges people face in their lives and the various ways they can viewed and approached.  Furthermore, the book aims to drive-home the idea that no matter what the challenge may be, there is a reason the challenge has been placed before us.
If you are considering reading this book, please keep in mind that the book is written from an Orthodox Jewish perspective.  There are many references to the Torah, and the importance of Torah study is emphasized throughout the book.  Hopefully, that will not discourage you from reading the book.  Though I am Jewish, I am not an Orthodox Jew; however, I still found the Torah references interesting and felt they added a lot to Rebbetzin Jugreis' message.  Additionally, I learned a lot our Jewish history that I had not known before; which I always appreciate.

One criticism I've read about this book is that it is repetitive and that a lot of the stories are the same.  Though it is true that the stories are relatively the same, they are still unique in their own way.  Furthermore, sometimes, I believe, a person needs such repetition in order to learn really the lesson that is being put before them.  (At least that is what my life has shown me.)

Since I listened to the audio format of this book, I would like to comment on the narration piece briefly.  The audio version opens with Rebbetzin Jugreis making some opening remarks, however Mare Winningham is the main narrator.  Though I would have loved to listen to the Rebbetzin the whole time, I feel Winningham did a great job.  There was never a time I felt the need to turn off the book because I could not continue listening to her.

Lastly, I would like to say I am glad the Rebbetzin came back at the end of the audio book to narrate her final remarks.  It took me back to this past September's event.  As I listened intently, I felt her glowing spirit radiate through the speakers of my player.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking this in and good luck with your reviewing. If you pop back in a few days there should be a lovely collection of book links. I have just signed up to follow you. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

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    1. Carole - Thank you for providing the wonderful collection of book blogs! Also, thank you for following this blog. I am a follower of yours. Cheers!

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  2. Lovely blog...nice post. THANKS.

    Stopping by from Carole's November Books I Loved. I am in that list as #2.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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    1. Elizabeth - Thanks! I'm glad you like my blog and post. I checked out your blog - very nice! I've added it to my RSS feed. :)

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  3. Melissa Amster sent me a link to your review. I actually own this book, and it's been a while since I read it. Now, reading your review, I want to take it back off the shelf! You make an excellent point about repetition being necessary to learn a lesson. Thank you for your review, and all the best.

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    1. Rivki - I'm so glad you stopped by my blog, and enjoyed my review of "Life Is A Test"! I took a look at your blog this morning... Very nice! All the best to you, too.

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