In this powerful memoir, bestselling author Alison Pick (nominated for the Man Booker Prize) channels Karen Armstrong and Anne Lamott as she explains the shocking family secret that eventually led to her mid-life conversion to Judaism—exploring powerful, provocative questions about family, faith, and the burdens of inheritance.
Alison Pick grew up in a tight-knit Christian family who went to church regularly and ate pork chops on Christmas Eve. But as a teenager, she stumbled into a remarkable family secret: her paternal grandparents, with whom she was very close, fled to Canada from the Czech Republic at the start of WWII because they were Jewish. But other members of her family hesitated to emigrate, and they paid the ultimate price for their choice when they were sent to Auschwitz.
Haunted by the Holocaust, Alison’s grandparents established themselves in their new lives as Christians. Not even Alison’s father knew of his parents’ past until he visited the Jewish cemetery in Prague as an adult. This atmosphere of shame and secrecy dogged Alison’s journey into adulthood, and by her early thirties she had fallen into a crippling depression.
Drowning in a sense of emptiness, she felt drawn to the Jewish community, and found inspiration for her international bestseller Far to Go in her family’s harrowing past. Eventually she came to realize that her true path forward lay in reclaiming her history and identity as a Jew. Alison began attending classes about the conversion process and found a rabbi who would sponsor her participation. But the process was far from easy as old wounds were opened, and all of her relationships were tested.
Profound, insightful, honest—and masterfully written—Between Gods forces us to reexamine our beliefs and the extent to which they define us.
“Pick is a marvelous writer, and she vividly recreates the transformation of her relationships…. Her path to conversion―complicated, nearly thwarted―is deeply moving in its culmination. Ultimately, this layered look at identity is a call for claiming one’s true self.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Thoughtful…. Pick writes her memoir by combining her fight against deep depression with the tenacious sense of hope she maintains in recovering her true identity as a Jew.” (Publishers Weekly)
“There is…sometimes a document of private life so thrilling in its subjectivity that it shuts you right up. Alison Pick’s Between Gods is such a book, a memoir ambitious as it is inclusive; …a sometimes wincingly honest diary, filled with…Pick’s intelligence and intent to observe her moral possibilities.” (Globe and Mail (Toronto))
“Alison Pick’s story of real life–the undeniable fates of the dead, and the hard-won hope of the living-illuminates her powerful new memoir, Between Gods.” (Toronto Star)