The Ladies Auxiliary

by Tova Mirvis

Book, 2000



Call number




New York, NY Ballantine Books, 2000


The Ladies Auxiliary follows the uneasy movement of Batsheva--a newly widowed convert to the Jewish faith--as she and her five-year-old daughter, Ayala, unwittingly stir up trouble in the community.

User reviews

LibraryThing member claudiabowman
I finally found something to read again. It's an interesting story so far, set in the Orthodox Jewish community in Memphis. Since my father was living in Memphis when he got religion (that's also where I was born and lived the first three years of my life) I have actually spent time in the
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synagouge described in the book, which is a neat touch. The author strikes a nice balance between not expecting the reader to be familiar with the traditions and not spending forever delving into explanations.
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LibraryThing member msjoanna
A relatively light and enjoyable read set in an Orthodox Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee. The story is rather tried and true -- a newcomer moves to an insular community and pushes the boundaries of the community to make the residents realize that they aren't as perfect or as isolated as they
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believed. While the setting was interesting, it was also universal -- the author comments in an interview that she's heard from readers who say the community could have described their Methodist relatives.

Throughout the book, the author uses first-person plural narration for the community (e.g., We were watching from our windows as the newcomer drove up.) This got sort of tiresome, but wasn't as annoying as it could have been. The individual community members were sufficiently well-drawn that they had appeal even with the plural narrative voice.
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LibraryThing member MeganAngela
The Ladies Auxiliary is a soapy view into the lives of a group of Orthodox Jewish women from Memphis, TN and what happens when a newcomer from New York joins their community.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved seeing how the author wove the fabric of an Orthodox Jewish community with the
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American South. It was a bit slow at times, and it was frustrating to watch the community fall apart due to its own assumptions and insecurities. Still, it was a solid novel with smooth prose and a dishy plot. I'd definitely recommend it to those readers who enjoy things like The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, but might be looking for a more religious twist! I give it four stars.
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LibraryThing member Bookish59
The religious Jewish community of Memphis, Tennessee, like communities around the world believe they alone know what's right and what's not. The women, in particular, are as imperfect as they come; with their personal agendas, insecurities, petty jealousies, and hypocrisy.

When Batsheva, a young,
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attractive Jewish convert and widow moves into the neighborhood with her little daughter, Ayala, tongues start wagging. Because she is blonde, confident and passionate, many of the women find fault with the way she dresses, keeps house, raises her daughter, etc. Batsheva doesn't acknowledge the community's "hierarchy" and before long she becomes the scapegoat for the town's problems.

I would have enjoyed The Ladies Auxiliary more if it weren't for the endless explanations of Jewish laws, customs and holidays. Novel is oversimplified; more storylines would have added much-needed dimension and texture.
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LibraryThing member nancynova
Memphis orthodox jews, possible LMIC book club?


0345441265 / 9780345441263

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