Monday, June 29, 2015

Sundays@10: The Serial in a Book

A few years ago, Dov Haller wrote a serial for Mishpacha magazine called Sundays@10. Now you can read it in its full version and follow R' Shmuel Wohlberg as he goes through the school year with some interesting challenges. 

Judging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review: 
Sundays@10The title of this book is a little ambiguous. The "@" instead of "at" indicates there is internet related content. After reading the book, I think it is a clever title because ultimately the Sunday meetings are where the plot unfolds.

The images of books next to the image of a tablet also shows how this book brings up the subject of "old school vs new school", quite literally and figuratively. It explores the concept of the generation gap in chinuch and parenting in general, but not in an intense way.

Some Details I Liked:

I liked how Dov Haller made this novel as real as possible. All the geographical locations are existing places.  Subtle phrases like "What am I, Fiveish?", making reference to Oorah's mascot, help the reader connect to the characters easily.

Without spoiling the ending, I liked how the message of the book was not to stoop down. It is a theme throughout the book, but even more so with the twist at the end.

Who This Book is For:

This was sent to me as a novel for adults, but I think it is good for teens as well. There is a lot of small lessons that are dropped in conversations between the characters of various stages of life. Between the elementary school boy, the daughter in seminary, the kollel newlyweds and the older generation couples, there is a nice variety of well portrayed characters.

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

Because Sundays@10 does discuss internet, I would only give this book to children who know what a blog, usernames and email is. While everything in the book is written with good context, an immature child might get ideas and miss the main point which explains the dangers.

What I Didn’t Like/Would Have Made it Better: 

I would have enjoyed an epilogue to find out if the children of the mechanchim end up making changes in their life. Also if the dinner brought in enough money for the school, etc.

In Conclusion:  

This is a non-typical, but very much needed novel. There aren't any spies, war stories, shidduchim, criminals, people becoming frum or finding new identities. It is about dealing with issues of today that could be happening in your community, school or home. 

I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it, but that it no way changed the way I read it and reviewed it.