"Before those two words, I thought that most people were basically
good, and I was sure that holy people were, well, holy.
I just had the crap beat out of that stupid idea."
In two sentences Deborah Heligman summerizes the plight of
Rachel, protagonist of her spell binding coming of age novel,
Intentions. Rachel's world is falling apart. Her parents have gone
from happily married to unable to be in the same room without
fighting. What if they split up? Her best friend, Alexis, has become
distant and unpredictable, no longer someone to be counted on to
care. She feels abandoned. Then when she arrives early for religious
class she discovers that her beloved Rabbi is cheating on his wife.
So here you have it. A teen ager has experienced the
unthinkable. Yet she has to carry on like nothing happened. Sick at
her stomach from her unwelcome revelation, she has to attend religious
education and try to act like she's expected to. That night and again
Imagine learning that someone you would not have expected it of
has violated the most fundamental values and ethics you hold dear and
you can't say a word. It hurts. I was a happily married woman with
kids older than Rachel when I had a similar experience. For a young
girl in high school with her world already precarious...
Then things get worse. Coming home one day Rachel sees her
mother and rabbi kissing. Maybe it's not one but two of the people
most central in her world who are being unfaithful to vows and spouses.
Rachel struggles to get through her days. She makes some
decisions she probably wouldn't have made under better circumstances.
Still her conscience and judgement do not desert her. After she
plants unpaid for jewelery on Alexis following yet another painful
She goes to the store to rectify things. And in the very end...
Find out for yourself. Read the book already. It is one of the
most riveting stories ever written about a woman child coming to terms
with a very adult revelation. If you're anything like me you won't be
able to put it down.
On a personal note, I had the most amazing library volunteer day.
Instead of shelving books I got to help with a children's program
about insects. We met those critters up close and personal: netting,
examining, microscope gazing, holding. We made coffee filter
butterflies and antennae. Yes, I wore mine. Purple to match my
favorite dress with the pink wasps crawling all over it. The kids
were spell bound. It was heavenly to talk with them about these small
but critically important denizens of our world. Then at the thrift
shop I found...tell you next review!
A great big shout out goes out to all folks in positions of
responsibility who do not give in to temptation and live up to the
trust people put in them, who don't go on to break their hearts. Also
to Louise, Naomi, Tamara, Mary, and all the others who went all out to
give the young library patrons such a memorable learning experience.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod