Jewish teenage literature tackles cultural taboos

Bullying, suicide, abuse. In recent years, the genre of Jewish teenage literature has tackled subjects once considered so taboo, not even the most progressive authors would touch them.

These “problem novels,” as they are called — exemplified recently by books like “Gravity,” by Leanne Lieberman, in which a teenage girl from an Orthodox family realizes she is a lesbian, and “Hush,” which, written under the pseudonym Eishes Chayil, takes on the problem of sexual abuse and suicide in a religious community — have been published since the early 1970s and have shattered the classic idea of Jewish children’s literature, which presented an idealized American Jewish family.


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