Finished July 8
Joy Comes in the Morning by Jonathan Rosen
This novel is centered around a young woman, Deborah Green, a Reform rabbi in New York City. She wasn't raised in an observant household, and both her mother and sister aren't thrilled about her choice of profession. She has had relationships in the past, but nothing that lasted or really connected for her. A lot of her duties are to visit with people in hospitals and nursing homes.
She aims to help both the person in the home or hospital as well as their family. One such family is that of Henry Friedman. Henry has undergone a few health setbacks recently, resulting in a major change in his lifestyle, which he finds difficult to face.
It is in the hospital that Deborah meets his family. As she becomes closer to the various members of this family, she develops a more intimate relationship with them, but she also goes through a crisis of faith. She is a complex character, and shows both uncertainty and humour as she grows here.
This is a book steeped in the Jewish faith and I learned a lot about prayer and ritual that I wasn't aware of. It is also about living that faith in a real life where people aren't perfect, but where they all try to manage as best they can.
A very enjoyable, enlightening read.