We Need to Talk addresses anorexia nervosa, marital discord, and post-partum depression, subjects not often discussed in literature intended for the Orthodox teenager. While Sofer is to be commended for taking on these difficult issues, this novel is simply not long enough to do them all justice, and it suffers as a result. Miri, a young, enthusiastic teacher at a Yeshiva high school for “at risk” girls, develops a close relationship with Risa. Risa’s mother is dead and her father is rarely home, and Miri’s family becomes a haven for her. A passing remark about needing to lose a few pounds sends Risa into a downward spiral of fasting and exercise. Miri is dealing with post-partum depression following the birth of her third child; her husband and mother want to help her, but have no idea what to do. Miri is also envious of the comfortable life her best friend seems to have, though she does not see the tension in her friend’s marriage. By the novel’s end, each problem is fixed, or at least a solution is in the works: Miri is on medication for the depression, and she is coming out of the fog that had consumed her; her friend’s marriage is back on track; and Risa has asked for help. Recommended for high school readers.
Marci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the University of Maryland, a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in English Literature from Fordham University. She has worked in synagogue and day school libraries and is currently finishing her term on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.