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The outside Worldby Tova Mirvis
Synopses & Reviews
- One -
Tzippy Goldman was a good girl. Yet she lay awake and wished she could run across the living room, fling open all the windows and all the doors, and scream. Tzippy is crazy, the neighbors would say, unfit for our sons, our nephews. But no, Tzippy would reply, not crazy, not unfit. Just sad. And maybe a little angry.
To scream would be like battling the laws of nature. Still, she let herself imagine it, now that it was late at night and she was alone. Her parents were at the Rosenbaum wedding in Monsey, and the house that normally teemed with her four singing sisters was temporarily still. There were reasons for Tzippy's urge to howl. It was because of an unjust world, an unfair God. It was because bad things happened to good people, because fortune and luck were doled out in unequal portions. It was because Tzippy Goldman was twenty-two and still not married.
She and her mother had spent years planning imaginary weddings, deciding on color schemes before she was old enough to find a groom. Her mother used to tuck her into bed and, with her finger, draw flowers and rings and wedding cakes on her back. They discussed chiffon and organza, compared silk shantung and satin. They selected Venetian-lace wedding dresses, rhinestone tiaras, and veils with cascading tulle. When they finished planning the wedding, they moved on to the marriage house, the dream space Tzippy and her husband would one day occupy. In the marriage house, everything was new. Everything was white and clean and fresh. There were new sheets and white lace tablecloths. In the marriage house, there was never anything to worry about. The dishes never needed to be washed, the beds never needed to be made. The phone didn't ring, the doorbell didn't buzz. The dinner table was set for two, and there were long evenings with nothing to do but be together.
This dream was supposed to be waiting for her. Both Tzippy and her mother had always assumed that she would finish high school, get set up on shidduch dates, meet the right boy, get engaged, and have a beautiful wedding with lots of white lace and pareve vanilla cream frosting. She was born for this. It was possible to imagine that somewhere, in an alternate world, Tzippy had a home set up, children born, and dinner long prepared. But, in this world, it hadn't happened as she had expected, and she had passed four years waiting and worrying.
There were so many ways to be set up: my rabbi knows your rabbi; my mother knows your mother; my neighbor, your neighbor. Tzippy had been set up by teachers and friends, and by her mother, who was omnipotent and omniscient. Setting up an eighteen-year-old was a hobby for people. Finding a husband for a twenty-two-year-old was a national emergency. Well-meaning neighbors called constantly with suggestions. Tzippy's name was in the file box of every professional matchmaker in Brooklyn. Her virtues had been sung to every neighbor, every neighbor's cousin, everyone who had a son, nephew, or acquaintance of marriageable age. Before a first date could take place, so many questions had to be asked. Is Tzippy thin? Is she pretty? Is the family rich? Will they support a husband while he learns? Is there a history of divorce or mental illness? Are there any distinguished rabbis in the family? Do they own a television set?
Once the right answers were given, the match was made and the boy was all
From the best-selling author of The Ladies Auxiliary, a hilarious new novel about two Orthodox Jewish families brought together by the marriage of their children. Tzippy Goldman's mother has been planning her wedding since before she was born. Her four younger sisters want her to marry the crown prince of Boro Park. But Tzippy, approaching...
Tzippy Goldman was born for marriage. She and her mother had always assumed she’d graduate high school, be set up with the right boy, and have a beautiful wedding with white lace and pareve vanilla cream frosting. But at twenty-two, Tzippy’s fast approaching spinsterhood. She dreams of escape; instead, she leaves for a year in Jerusalem.
There she meets–re-meets–Baruch, the son of her mother’s college roommate. When Tzippy last saw him, his name was Bryan and he wore a Yankees-logo yarmulke. Now he has adopted the black hat of the ultra-orthodox, the tradition in which Tzippy was raised. Twelve weeks later, they’re engaged...and discovering that desire and tradition, devotion and individuality aren’t the easiest balance. Hilarious, compassionate, and tremendously insightful, The Outside World illuminates an insular community, marvelously depicting that complicated blend of faith, love, and family otherwise known as life in a modern world.
About the Author
Tova Mirvis grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. She received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.tovamirvis.com.
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