Sunday, November 4, 2012
Book Review: Life Is A Test (Audio Book)
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.