Stand Tall by Rhona Lewis (Tfutza Publications, 2020)
Reviewed by Shira Yael Klein
This book was captivating. I read most of it in one sitting. (It’s a good thing someone called and I had to get up to get the phone. I was supposed to be working!)
The book focuses on the characters’ moral conflicts, moral choices, and quests to discover their true identities and goals. The question of what to do with something non-conventional in your past is explored at length through two characters. Do you hide it, flaunt it, or something in between? How will people react? The book gave the topic a nuanced and realistic treatment. (Hint: not everyone reacts the same).
There are at least two bona fide three-dimensional characters. I was actually most captivated by a secondary character, Rivka. I loved how while she essentially doesn’t rise to the real challenge, she is none the less working tremendously hard, with unflagging determination and genuine inner strength, at what she thinks she’s supposed to be doing. And she even succeeds. Sort of. Things go right even though she’s wrong. Interesting. Complex. The way real life is.
There’s a great makolet (neighborhood grocery store) scene, where two characters clash while doing their morning shopping. The author got it so right. I loved the contrast between the homey and familiar shopping experience and the understated tension between the characters.
I liked that while the book ended on a positive note, it wasn’t a Perfectly Happy (read, utterly unrealistic) ending. The book was well written (and edited — I’m an editor, shout out to the editors and proofreaders).