Being Esther: A Novel

  • Review
By – April 3, 2013

Being Esther is a poignant sto­ry that will be told more often as the pop­u­la­tion ages. Esther Lustig is an octo­ge­nar­i­an wid­ow who lives alone. She is in touch with her chil­dren and one last close friend. Esther’s daugh­ter is wag­ing a cam­paign to con­vince her to move to an upscale assist­ed liv­ing facil­i­ty by leav­ing pos­i­tive col­or­ful brochures around, but Esther is adamant­ly against it. She has paid vis­its to a friend who lives there and finds it to be a depress­ing expe­ri­ence which is noth­ing like the adver­tise­ments. Esther spends her abun­dant free time try­ing to con­nect with her two chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, par­tic­i­pat­ing in some social activ­i­ties with one close friend who is at the same stage of life, and mak­ing small talk with the handy­man and neigh­bors in her build­ing. She rem­i­nisces with a clear eye about her years liv­ing with her grouchy hus­band. Esther’s world is small but she is com­fort­able in it. She con­sid­ers her own mor­tal­i­ty, accept­ing it grace­ful­ly. Esther has had a long con­ven­tion­al life with its own ups and downs; not the stuff that usu­al­ly makes for a best­seller but is right­ful­ly depict­ed by Miri­am Karmel as a tale worth telling and reading. 

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams is a Cuban-born, Brook­lyn-raised, Long Island-resid­ing mom. She is Hadas­sah Nas­sau’s One Region One Book chair­la­dy, a free­lance essay­ist, and a cer­ti­fied yoga instruc­tor who has loved review­ing books for the JBC for the past ten years.

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