Monday, August 13, 2012

Intentions by Deborah Heiligman

The last thing that Rachel thought she would find in the sanctuary of her synagogue was the Rabbi having sex. But there he was, up on the bima, having sex...and with a woman who is not his wife. The foundation of Rachel's world starts to crack. Her parents are fighting more than ever. Her grandmother isn't always lucid (and doesn't always know who Rachel is). And now the Rabbi, the man who she respected and who guided her spiritual life, has been revealed to be a terrible sinner. How can she face him? How can she continue to listen to him talk about God and religion and faith? How can anything in her life be the same?

This was a new spin on the betrayal aspect for me; I don't think I've seen a storyline where a girl loses faith in her Rabbi and then acts out in frustration and anger. The cover, while attention-grabbing, doesn't quite match the book; I find it to hint at darker content (I'm not sure why...the model's eyes, perhaps?) than Intentions actually has. Rachel as a character is grown up in many ways and so young in others. Many of her ideas about sex and relationships are naive but she's also recognizing very adult desires in herself. Characters like that are intriguing to me because there's so much potential; they can go in almost any direction because their whole worlds are shifting. There are a lot of interesting ideas mixed in with the storyline: the intention behind your actions, putting good out into the world, fixing a broken world, taking responsibility for your actions, trusting people who have wronged you, and what it means to be a good person. I was a big fan of Deborah Heiligman's Charles and Emma and I really enjoyed reading a novel from her (and I hope there will be more - of both her fiction and non-fiction).

See more at Deborah Heiligman's website.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Random House.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman
Gravity by Leanne Lieberman
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt

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