When We Were Bad

When We Were Bad

Book - 2007
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Critics in Britain are already raving about Charlotte Mendelson's excoriatingly funny yet deeply humane novel about a glamorous London family that happens to be falling apart.

The Rubins are the perfect family. They're wonderfully happy and very glamorous. The mother, Claudia, is the ultimate Jewish matriarch: a powerful rabbi known for her charm, brains, and determination. Now this dynastic Jewish family is getting ready to marry off the perfect eldest son. History, community, and even gastronomy unite the guests lucky enough to attend this joyous occasion.

But when the groom -- one minute before exchanging vows -- bolts with the wrong woman, the myths that have defined this family take on darker overtones. Mendelson's astonishing eye for detail, as well as her just-right balance of plot and character, makes the unfolding of this story an uncommon treat. In a marvelously compressed style that also bursts with life, she reveals how all four adult Rubin children, and their parents, struggle with huge secrets, sexual frustration and sexual experimentation, and many betrayals.

Charlotte Mendelson opens a window on a realm rarely explored in British society: the complicated world of English Jewry. But to watch this seemingly blessed family drastically, disastrously fall apart before regaining balance is to understand that their struggles -- like all of ours -- are universal ones.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2007
ISBN: 9780618883431
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 321 p. ; 22 cm


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Jan 30, 2014

rec Brenzi

Apr 19, 2013

Funny, not hilarious, but funny. This is the story of a rabbi, her husband, children and extended family in North London, coming apart and surviving.

Apr 21, 2011

I found this story uptight and over-dramatic, but maybe that was the intention with the chaos the Rubins and Claudia brought to the table. It is a dissection of Jewish family in London England after Leo (the eldest) is found out to be having an affair with another woman on his wedding day. While other family members hide secrets and try to find themselves and happiness. The drama breaks loose left, right and center.


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