Memoir Mondays: Unorthodox

Memoirs have the power to move us, connect with us and allow us to share life changing experiences with people we’d otherwise never have the chance to know. Every Monday, we’re pleased to feature a memoir and open a window to someone else’s life.

Growing up with her strictly religious grandparents, Deborah Feldman didn’t realize at first she was trapped. She grew up in the ultra-Orthodox Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, an insular, oppressive world that remained a mystery to anyone outside until now. As a young girl, her every action was governed and repressed by her faith, from what she wore to who she talked to what she read. Unorthodox is her riveting account of her journey — how she found the courage and determination needed to break away from that world.

At the age of seventeen, she was married off to a man she’d only met for 30 minutes. When the secret got out that she was unable to consummate the marriage immediately—due to her lack of education sexual and otherwise—she was shunned from the community. Feldman found solace in literature, secretly escaping into stories of about heroic women written by Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott. Inspired, she moved onto memoirs of remarkable women. She soon realized that she too could attain the freedom and independence she read about.

When Deborah turned nineteen, she gave birth to her son and realized that there was more at stake than herself. It was then she began her feat.

Unorthodox is an account of Deborah’s personal struggle, as she breaks free from repression and strides toward happiness. Have a look inside the memoir.

Hear more about the empowering story from Deborah: