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In this witty, provocative, and “compulsively readable coming-of-age story” (Cosmopolitan), a young Hasidic woman on a quest to get married fears she will never find a groom because of her secret addiction to porn.
Like the other women in her ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn community, Raizl expects to find a husband through an arranged marriage. Unlike the other women, Raizl has a secret.
With a hidden computer to help her complete her college degree, she falls down the slippery slope of online pornography. As Raizl dives deeper into the world of porn at night, her daytime life begins to unravel. Between combative visits with her shrink to complicated arranged dates, Raizl must balance her growing understanding of her sexuality with the expectations of the family she loves.
“Clever, subversive, juicy, and surprising” (Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies), Shmutz explores what it means to be a fully realized sexual and spiritual being caught between the traditional and modern worlds.
Felicia Berliner lives in New York City. Shmutz is her first novel. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she was awarded a Teaching Fellowship and the Henfield Prize. Her essays have appeared in LitHub, the Paper Brigade, and other outlets. She grew up in Los Angeles and attended yeshiva high school. Felicia coaches writers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, and other change-makers.
Moderator Tova Mirvis is the author of the memoir The Book of Separation which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and excerpted in the New York Times Modern Love Column. She is also the author of three novels, Visible City, The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in many publications including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Magazine, Real Simple, and Psychology Today, and her fiction has been broadcast on NPR. She lives in Newton, MA with her family.