The Book of Order by Michael Davidow, Manchester, N.H.
Now that Davidow has finished his latest novel, he plans to start writing commentary again. Look for his column Radio Free New Hampshire to return to InDepthNH.org starting in the new year.
Monica Reads is co-published by InDepthNH.org and Manchester Ink Link.
Monica Reads, A review by Monica West
The Book of Order by Michael Davidow is a deep dive into issues of personal faith. It is a small book filled with a large, heart-felt pursuit of a lifetime of religious and family devotions.
Davidow, a lawyer in Nashua, drops us into the Boston urban area of Waltham and Newton and the significant Jewish communities where he grew up. Brandeis University is front and center as are the local synagogues in his exploration of the Jewish faith.
The book includes historic teachings from Jewish Rabbi’s past and present. Reading The Book of Order is like reading a condensed Jewish history as Davidow introduces Margaret Hoffman, who has just walked through the death of her father and how the experience changes her.
Does she go through the mourning process as a good Jewish woman or does the mourning process incite a backward look at what it means to be Jewish?
There is a commonality of her Jewish heritage and the loss of her father who was a Rabbi who the author views as a kind of rogue Jew. He challenges. He writes. He promotes loud quietness and questions just about everything in the Torah.
Her father’s view of faith is intersected with the faith of everyone who reads this book. The Book of Order has an intellectual punch that penetrates the mind and wraps around the reader’s heart and soul. We are all seekers of wisdom.
Although one review calls The Book of Order “a deceptively simple work, filled with stories taken from both the Talmud and the old Chasidic masters…,” it is not always easy to understand.
I recommend reading it with your thumb tucked in the glossary at the back of the book. You will definitely be introduced to new words unless you were brought up in the Jewish faith.
As I read this book, I constantly looked up new words. I learned a lot about Judaism and as a lapsed Roman Catholic was intrigued by the references to past and present rituals that bind together different faiths.
The Book of Order challenges the reader in many different ways. It is not about order, but about faith in your life.
Yes, read this book. You can get this book on Amazon.
Davidow is also the author of Gate City, Split Thirty, and The Rocketdyne Commission, three novels about politics and advertising which, taken together, form The Henry Bell Project. His books are available on Amazon.
Monica West reviews books for InDepthNH.org. Monica is known for her love of history and her lifelong love for reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in English. “My years of reading for leisure and pleasure have given me the insight to read a book and analyze the author’s baggage, cargo and ability to write the language of his/her mind and utilize the gift of prose to educate and entertain the reader. Go get a book, read it and enjoy the adventure.” Contact Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org