Health Follow-Up and Reading Lists

After that marvelously depressing post about health defects and shidduchim, blogger JACP informed me that she found her husband because she had cancer, and not in spite of it. Which is not to say she didn’t have her shidduch woes. There were plenty of the “Oh you had cancer? He had cancer! You must have so much in common!” type of matches. (Can anyone explain the logic?)
Yet, though she never attempted to hide her medical record, she was married at the obscenely young age of 17. Which just goes to show… something. Probably something like “tell the whole world about your shortcomings and someone is bound to love your for them.” Or maybe “don’t be afraid of being yourself because it really doesn’t matter.”
How did she have a dating history at the age of 17? Two words: Borough Park. The exact little romance she won’t tell me, nor is it any longer on her blog. This is because she wants us all to buy her Artscroll novel selling under the dreary name of Miracle Ride and with an equally dull looking cover (but the content has been salvaged and gets pretty exciting). (If you’ve read her blog and want to ogle this fun and spunky girl (or woman, now that she’s married with a kid) in person, Eichlers of BP is showing her off June 4th, 6:30-8pm and you get a 25% discount on the signed book if you mention my name… or even if you don’t.)
I’m actually wondering if it would make a good addition to my growing list of “shidduch” books. Thus far I have the two classics: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. There’s also The Outside World by Tova Mirvis (rated for some adult content) and For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani (hat-tip to Larry). (Why is it the Jewish one that gets the parental guidance warning?) Anyone know of any other books that comfort Shidduchville residents with the knowledge that they are not alone and yes, there is hope? It would make a good post-sem reading list. Suggestions welcome below.


64 thoughts on “Health Follow-Up and Reading Lists

  1. Oh, just come to my house and choose one of the ten marriage books I have!(although I dunno if that counts as DATINg persay…. 😉 )

  2. Not a huge fan of The Outside World. It’s full of stereotypes.

    Emma, by Jane Austen, is another good shidduchim book. Or Persuasion, by the same author.

  3. Another thumbs up for Earnest! Mine came bound with two other also worthy reads.

    As for JACP: If it’s anything like her blog (I was there before it was censored) the inside of the book is DEFINITELY juicier than the cover. I can vouch for the first draft, but I don’t know yet how badly Artscroll mauled it… I’ll let you know shortly, I guess. Because now that the story is off her blog, I don’t think I’ll be able to resist the book!
    And she can be a woman just as much as we can. Adorable son notwithstanding.

    (And someone get me the graphic designer at Artscroll. Or his/her job. Whichever. How in the world does a colorized butterfly relate to “Miracle Ride”?! Or to JACP’s story/personality? And why does her magnum opus not have a speck of red on it when even I know that’s her favorite color? Yeesh!)

  4. The Jewish one gets the content warning because Mirvis is writing in this century when such is expected in contrast to Jane Austen. However, the most RW schools would probably blacklist Pride and Prejudice today. There are scandals just off-camera with Wickham and Lydia.

  5. A Victorian classic that covers people marrying the right partner, the wrong partner, and overcoming obstacles along the way to one’s “bashert” there’s George Eliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch. There are also seriously bad marriages in her Daniel Deronda (with a heavy Jewish component). And there are echoes of it in Portrait of a Lady by Henry James — where the young lady is the one married for her money — so being a real shidduch “catch” has its dangers.

  6. For Matrimonial Purposes isn’t rated and it’s also written in modern times for a modern audience. It’s by and about an Indian girl, and she clearly doesn’t feel any need to pander to pop culture.

    I kind of liked the stereotypes in The Outside World. Some struck me as so off, but the stuff that was spot-on cracked me up. And yes, I’m talking about the yeshivish stereotypes.

    All of Austen is shidduchim, but I thought P&P was more like what the average girl experiences than Emma. (Didn’t like the ending to that one either. Hello? Now that Kingsley’s raised and molded her to his specifications he marries her? Anyone else find that weird?)

    Never made it through Middlemarch (I shall have the decency to blush as I confess it) but Eliot’s stuff is on my summer reading list. Will check out Deronda. Thanks.

  7. Kingsley? Kingsley?


    Too much Harry Potter, methinks. It’s Knightley in Emma. And it’s so girl-next-door! I love the ending! Okay, maybe not love, but it’s still so “awwww” inducing. And Knightley didn’t *raise* her, he pointed out her flaws so she could improve.

  8. Definitely Middlemarch. And Daniel Deronda can serve as a primer on definite don’ts when looking for a marriage partner.

    For those who are too scared to take the plunge and need a little push, I recommend The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.

    And finally, for those times when you need some cheering up/reassurance that you won’t end up an unhappy old maid, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.

  9. Whatever. Guy with a K starting his name. He was like a father figure! Or at least an uncle. You don’t marry those people! Plus the way he proposed? “Now that you’ve stopped being an immature know-it-all and have grown up, I think I’d like to marry you.” Wow, turns my heart to mush. 😀

  10. Okay, I’ll concede on Emma. His confession of love does sort of come out of the blue and he does seem to make a 180: somewhat harsh and critical –> soppily in love and ignoring her faults. BUT HEY! No relationship is perfect. And he has great kibud av.

    As another suggestion – Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. ::sigh::johnbrooke::sigh::

  11. I loooooove pride and prejudice soooo much!!! It’s just such a cute and thought book!!! It’s not like she falls in love with him for no reason, or succumb to his charms… And it is so well written, you feel relaxed and peaceful when you read it, didn’t you notice?

  12. Definitely Emma. Only daughter of a rich man–what can she really “buy” for herself? Even the rich girls don’t have it easy.

    He was like a father figure! Or at least an uncle. You don’t marry those people! Plus the way he proposed? “Now that you’ve stopped being an immature know-it-all and have grown up, I think I’d like to marry you.” Wow, turns my heart to mush.

    You don’t marry them? Looked around lately? Could point out that by sefardim the girls are lots younger and the men are lots older. Lousy proposals? Sounds fairly contemporary to me.

  13. [ducks under couch]

    One thing I have learned in life is that I should never mention not liking Little Women or any given Jane Austen in a room full of female English majors. So I’m going to crawl under this couch and not come out until the Regency/chick lit discussion is over.

    John Brooke…? Is that from Little Women?

    Marrying someone years older is one thing – but Knightly always treated her like a younger relative. And if someone proposed to me like that, I’d slap him, shomer negiya or not.

  14. Jane Eyre. Pride and Prejudice. A Room With A View (gorgeous story). Emma is also good; the movie take on it (Clueless) is also quite clever.

    Best shidduch movie: The Princess Bride.

    Does Shrek count as a shidduch movie?


  15. See an idea for a future posting creeping up in here. If you don’t like the way Knightley proposes and since compliments and flattery are verboten (see your posting on that) then what constitutes the ideal proposal? What words should be part of such a proposal?

  16. The Princess Bride? Whoa… we’re veering off shidduchim and on to just plain ol’ romance here. Was Shrek a blind date?

    ProfK – what ever happened to the classic, “Will you marry me?” And I didn’t say no flattery or compliment at all – just not too early, and not in severely right-wing circles where the girl would like to think that all you notice is what she says.

  17. Actually, I think Little Women is more useful for getting shalom bayis tips than shidduch ones–like don’t overspend your budget on frivolous things or totally neglect your husband after having children.

    To add to the list of shidduch books, what about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte? It can serve as a warning to “check out” the guy and to value character and moral more than good looks or charm.

  18. Ok- since it sounds as though at least one of us is planning on going, can we set up a time when we can all go? I live right near there, and I’d love to meet some other fellow bloggers while I’m at it. (and yeah- sigh- I decided I will shell out some of my non-existant money for a worthy cause)

  19. Mindy – I’ll pop in and we should all blog about it the next day and try and figure out who was there 😉


    I . . . I . . .

    [crumples to floor in heap]

    You may appreciate them more if you reread them.

    John Brooke is from Little Women, and he is just the kindest, sweetest, bestest man ever. Firm but gentle, patient . . . ::sigh::

  21. Yay! I’d love to meet some fellow bloggers!

    I’d like be bale to say that I’ll be the blogger in the red sweater, but I have a mother in law who will die if I show up to a book signing in anything more than black.

    Oh, if not for the red, you’ll find me signing the books at the place. Silly me.

  22. >“Now that you’ve stopped being an immature know-it-all and have grown up, I think I’d like to marry you.”

    >>And if someone proposed to me like that, I’d slap him, shomer negiya or not.

    If there is a God, and if He has a sense of humor…

  23. Seven Blessings, by Ruchama King. (A regular Barnes & Noble-type novel, not Artscroll)

    And btw, I also loved the stereotypes in The Outside World. Especially the ones that are slightly overdrawn – they are so funny!

  24. Apple, do not worry. Whatever BadforShidduchim says, you’ve got a fellow sappy idyllic romance lover right here to support you. And please do NOT fall to the floor- that’s the best way to get your skirt dirty and lose your shidduchim.

    (and speaking of sappy romances, my personal best are the Betsy Tacy series, by Maud Hart Lovelace- her best*(at least, I think so) are Emily of Deep Valley and Carney’s House Party, two of the three Deep Valley books that are not part of the Besty-tacy series. They’re the best) The other ones I really like are Anne of Green Gables. I am also a DIE HARD fan of Jane Eyre. Oh man.. Heaven on Earth… 😉 )

    And no- we have to come up with a specific time to meet. 🙂 6:30 to 8? Ok- so what do you say to 7?

    G- oh, God definitely has a sense of humor. Philosophy 101: Nothing in this world can exist outside of God. If it exists, it exists withing God as well. We have humor? God has humor. Simple as that.

    Is that cool, or is that cool? Just shows there’s room for (almost) everything within Judaism!

  25. … a DIE HARD fan of Jane Eyre.

    Now there is a cultural combination I never would have made. Yippi-Ki-Yay Mr. Brocklehurst.

    We have humor?

    Indeed? The more blogs I read, the more I question this.

  26. I’ve always related to the first couple of scenes Disney’s Mulan. Very useful in describing what a trip to a shadchan is like.

  27. If there is a God, and if He has a sense of humor…

    [gusty release of held breath/]
    About time, G. I’ve been waiting for your snarky comment on that one all weekend. Now I can go on with life. Thank you.

  28. I’ll go to the signing at around 7, and maybe drag my little sister along. Anyone live in Flatbush and need a ride?

  29. First waiting for the car…now for a specific comment.

    A guy could get ideas.

    –Had I known their was such anticipation I would have not have gone with such a tame comment.

  30. Ok, ok, I have a premonition that Eichlers of BP is not going to like what will be going on over there at 7…

    G- heh heh. Come to my house, where you will see hundreds of books cluttering up my room, ranging from Aryeh Kaplan’s Sefer Hayetzirah to what probably would be termed as apikorsus. 🙂

    I love my house. My family is an interesting combination and did I mention that we’re the coolest, nicest, most amazing, unconventional, accepting, warm, friendly and out of this world family? I dunno how I failed to mention it. How careless of me.

  31. Oh- I see I probably misunderstood your intention about “die hard.”

    Not the movie- not into those kinda stuff. You know what I meant. 🙂

  32. –Had I known their was such anticipation I would have not have gone with such a tame comment.

    The bet wasn’t contingent on quality, so no sweat.

  33. First waiting for the car…now for a specific comment.

    A guy could get ideas.

    Careful G – if you keep seeing signs all over, people might think they’re the expression of your true inner desire.

  34. Frumbutnotaidel–

    Hey… That’s not a bad idea.
    I’ll have to run it by my dear parents first if it’s more than a few people, but maybe a post/pre Eichler’s signing.

    Ok- so how many people think they would come?
    Both to Eichlers and to my house.

  35. Some of you may know each other outside of here, but I want to remain a bit anonymous, so I’ll come, but will wear a disguise!

  36. What sort of disguise? 😉

    Ps- if you’d like to come, email me at overthebluerainbow at gmail dot com so we can arrange a time and I can tell you the address.

  37. We once didn’t know each other. Then we kind of stopped disguising ourselves. I know – we’re the internet weirdos your mother always warned you about. Sometimes I’m so weird I even freak out myself! But I’ve never cut someone up and buried them under a highway, so you’re safe that way. 😉

  38. Ha ha! B4S, if you guys don’t care then I won’t! (I’ve never cut anyone up either….yet)

  39. That makes me feel safer too. 😀

    Scared, Becky? [monster face] rightfully so… don’t tell frumbutnotaidel. ;-)nyahahahaha!

  40. Why am I just not getting this conversation?

    Anyway, I have no problem being me- my mother has a policy (as it is said in Pirkei Avos) not to do anything you’d be embarrassed of. (excluding regular growing up, of course)So we have no prob in identifying ourselves.

  41. Careful G – if you keep seeing signs all over, people might think they’re the expression of your true inner desire.

    Ah, but there in lies the difference. What you say would be true if one were ‘seeing’ signs, as in some type of mirage.
    ‘Tis quite another matter when they are placed and labeled directly in your line of sight.

    -anyway, fret not..i’m not that deep. there is very little in the way of ‘inner’ anything.

  42. Well I just meant that my blog affords me some anonymity to talk about people I go out with – but since we run in different circles I don’t have a problem with it. So what time are meeting and are we wearing name tags ;)?

  43. If your mirages are so real they seem solid and labeled, best check in with a therapist. There are many reasons a person might stand near your car – perhaps (theoretically) to slash the brakes or to plant a stink-bomb in the back seat. And often enough people eagerly await comments from people with whom they would never want to get too friendly – the OJ Simpson trial comes to mind.
    Therefore, sir – not to express any friendly concern about your well-being – but perhaps it’s time for a visit to some sort of doctor.

  44. Can I interrupt this little love fest here to say that in approximately six and a half year’s time you can be referred to a qualified, reliable, warm and caring psychologist named Dr. Mindy?

    Just a personal reference.

  45. Third?

    Wow- G, see how badly she wanted to spare you???

    You should have appreciation for this unexpected softness…

  46. LOL. Go ahead, I tok it back now.

    (EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWW Bad4, that was grrrrrrrroooooooooooooosssssssssssssssssssssssssssss)

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