#CBR7 Review #53: Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok

The Chancellor and I have been a bit frustrated with our book club these past few months. So we decided, along with our friend A, that a sub-book club might get us reading faster and more frequently. The Chancellor had April’s pick with Station Eleven, so he decided to pick our sub-book-club-book-club pick, as well (we’ve jokingly referred to the club as “A Book Club for Good Christians,” which is an inside joke). He’s been at me for *years* to read Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok. After reading and loving The Chosen, I was more than happy to comply.

Davita’s Harp examines Judaism from the outside in. Davita Chandal is a young girl raised by Communist parents in the United States. Her mother’s Jewish background does not formulate a part of her existence until a series of circumstances bring her into contact with Ezra Dinn, her mother’s cousin, and his son, David. They, along with her Jewish neighbors, arouse a curiosity for something she’s never known but finds herself longing for. The power of faith and community fills Davita’s heart with hope, even as circumstances conspire to twist and contort the life around her.

The idea of Davita’s questioning of Judaism and tradition intrigued me, but the setup took FOREVER. I found myself getting impatient with the dragging of the plot in the first 200 pages, and I just wanted to get to the good stuff. Plus, there is a relationship in the second half that feels rushed and not true to the establishment of characters, and I just didn’t buy it. My recommendation is this: if you’re a Potok purist, then go ahead and read it. If you’ve never read Potok, though, I recommend starting with The Chosen. It’s fantastic.


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