Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What To Do About The Solomons by Bethany Ball: A Review

  The Solomon family is dispersed all over the globe and seems to be falling apart.  Marc lives in Los Angeles and is accused of using his financial business to cover up a gambling ring.  His brother-in-law, Guy Gever, fancies himself an artist but others see him as mentally ill.  His sister, Shira, ignores her son to attend to her own needs.  Father, Yakov, and mother, Vivienne, try to keep the family together but they have problems of their own.

This was a very interesting story.  There is a the immigrant element, both to Israel and to the United States (and elsewhere for other characters that we don't hear too much about), the family drama and unfair accusations made.  There were also a lot of characters in this book and a lot of jumping back and forth, both between different characters and times.  It could be a little bit frustrating but I found myself enjoying the book, anyway. 

The characters were fascinating.  They were very complex and easy to relate to.  Even though most of the characters were directly related to each other, all of them were very different and unique. 

I enjoyed the different settings of the book, especially the setting of the kibbutz.  It offered a window into a lifestyle that is very different from that which I have experienced here in the United States and I think very different from most people's experiences in the world.  I also enjoyed that the book represented more of the ethnic groups that make up Israel and the Jewish people than just the Ashkenazim.  A lot of non-Jewish people don't know about any Jewish culture outside of the Jews that immigrated from Germany to the United States and Israel after World War II, but there are Sephardim and Mizrahim that come from Spain and the Middle East, Jews from Ethiopia and other groups from all over the world.  This book represented some of those groups, especially Vivienne, who was from Algeria.  I appreciated that because so many books feature only characters who are Ashkenazi and not from any other ethnic group.

The writing was decent.  It wasn't very fluid but it also wasn't overly choppy and difficult to read.  I think some readers may have difficulty with the number of characters and the jumping back and forth but I enjoyed it despite these issues.  I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys family dramas and books from other cultures.  In addition, this book is highly recommended for those who are interested in what life on a kibbutz is like.  I enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to reading more by Ball.      

Reviews for books like this one:
Thee Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

This book is currently available and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book.  This is my honest opinion of this book.  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program.  By clicking on the Amazon link and purchasing this product, I receive a small fee.  I am not associated with Goodreads or Barnes and Noble in any way and the links provided are available strictly for your convenience and not to imply a relationship of any kind.

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