Thursday, November 12, 2009
Not exactly the kind of book you read by the pool while sipping your martini or even between piles of laundry, but a book worth the effort and time spent reading it. That seemed to be the consensus of those who have read Davita’s Harp.
Davita’s Harp is told through the eyes of a young, lonely child living during the 30’s and 40’s on the Eastern Seaboard. She is the daughter of two intellectuals; this is a major understatement. Her mother and father have both rejected the religions of their childhoods by replacing their old beliefs with communism and atheism.
However, Davita is intrigued by the Bible stories her Christian aunt tells her, her father’s sister, and she is drawn to the community of Jewish believers who surround her and represent her mother’s past.
This book tackles many themes. The author seems to be expressing that even though institutions are flawed, we all desire something to believe in and a sense of belonging. Within each of us is a soul that needs to be fed.
Chaim Potok is an author that observes and writes about Truth. On a personal note, I found the book very challenging and encouraging to me. When I see a dear friend who has rejected her childhood faith in God, for many of the same reasons that Davita’s mother did, I am reminded that sometimes we have to allow people to return to God in their own space and time. God is earnestly seeking renewed relationships just as much as he is seeking new relationships with his creation. Even though I desire to rush this process, just like Davita’s mom, it can not be rushed. She had to experience a “Centralia” to bring her back to Judaism.
Davita’s Harp discusses life-changing moments that alter our paths and choices. AKA: Your own personal “Centralia.”
I have only touched lightly on all the themes one could discuss from reading this great book. Chaim Potok is one of my all-time favorite writers. If you’ve never read anything by him, I would suggest starting with: My Name is Asher Lev, The Promise, or The Chosen, which seem to be easier reads.
But, don’t miss out on what Davita’s Harp has to say. You won’t regret it.