Synopsis: In "Uncovered," Leah Lax tells her story beginning as a young teen who left her liberal, secular home for life as a Hasidic Jew, and ending as a forty-something woman who has to abandon the only world she s known for thirty years in order to achieve personal freedom. In understated, crystalline prose, Lax details her experiences with arranged marriage, cult-like faith, and motherhood during her years with the Hasidim, and explores how her creative, sexual, and spiritual longings simmer beneath the surface throughout her time there. The first book to tell the story of a gay woman who spent thirty adult years in the Hasidic fold, "Uncovered" is the moving story of Lax s long journey toward finding a home where she truly belongs."
Review: I am very glad this book was included in this year's fall reading challenge. I learned so much by reading it, particularly about the Hasidim. It was fascinated to watch Leah grow from a college student looking for home and love to a Hasidic woman in an arranged marriage to a strong woman with an amazing sense of self.
Just reading about the rules and traditions in a Hasidic family, I started to feel claustrophobic. I can't imagine being starved for love, thinking you've found it, and then realizing that the very religion you turned to for love will keep you from having the kind of relationship you always wanted with a husband.
The love that she has for her children (all seven of them!) comes through in the section of the book where she writes of raising them. Her joy in that part of her life was obviously a comfort to her.
After thirty years in the faith, she chose to leave it, and to find herself. She has to learn how to live in the outside world, and to be an independent woman.
Her story is inspiring and heartwarming.
Rating: Four stars
About the author
Leah Lax has written award-winning fiction and non-fiction as well as an opera for Houston Grand Opera that was reviewed in the NYTimes and broadcast on NPR. Her work has appeared in many places, including Salon, Dame, Lilith, jewishfiction.net, and in anthologies by Seal Press and North Atlantic. When she isn't writing, you can find her in the garden, or playing her cello, or with her wife kayaking around the world.