January 12, 2021

Twelve-year-old Miri­am is full of ques­tions, but the whole uni­verse is count­ing on her for answers.

Jew­ish mythol­o­gy has it that when God cre­at­ed the uni­verse, one cor­ner of it was left unfin­ished. Opin­ion is divid­ed on why, but every­one agrees that the Unfin­ished Cor­ner is a dan­ger­ous place full of mon­sters. Twelve-year-old Miri­am nei­ther knows nor cares about the Unfin­ished Cor­ner. She’s too busy prepar­ing for her Bat Mitz­vah, wrestling with whether she even wants to be Jew­ish – until a pecu­liar angel appears, whisk­ing her, her two best friends, and her worst fren­e­my off to this mon­strous land with one mis­sion: fin­ish the Unfin­ished Cor­ner. An orig­i­nal graph­ic novel.

Discussion Questions

A graph­ic nov­el filled with kid-cen­tric humor, high adven­ture, and weird, creepy, apoc­ryphal sto­ries and char­ac­ters from the Bible and rab­binic lit­er­a­ture, The Unfin­ished Cor­ner is def­i­nite­ly not like any oth­er book in the stan­dard Jew­ish children’s library. While prepar­ing for her bat mitz­vah, twelve year-old Miri is unex­pect­ed­ly yanked into a quest that hops between the phys­i­cal and spir­i­tu­al worlds, along with three friends — well, class­mates — well, fren­e­mies — each with their own prob­lems, and each with their own rea­sons for need­ing a trans-dimen­sion­al quest.

The Unfin­ished Cor­ner con­tains strong female char­ac­ters, diverse depic­tions of Jews (obser­vant, indif­fer­ent, and wrestling-with-it!) (Jews of col­or and from dif­fer­ent coun­tries and social class­es!). The nar­ra­tive moves breath­less­ly, always giv­ing the read­er a lot to think about, and nev­er reduc­ing its char­ac­ters to stereo­types or resort­ing to sim­ple answers. The demons aren’t evil, and the ordered uni­verse isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly always ordered in the right way. Beyond its well-researched scrip­tur­al source mate­r­i­al, there’s a lot of heart to this sto­ry, and it mir­rors the pre­teen strug­gle toward under­stand­ing — and tak­ing to heart — the rich and unabashed­ly weird her­itage of Jew­ish stories.