Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Innocents

by Francesca Segal

North West London sets the stage for this modern retelling of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

Warning: I am not a fan of Wharton’s novel. If I had known that this novel was an updated version of it, I probably would not have read it.

Anyway, the love triangle is composed of the following folks:

• Rachel Gilbert, whose only dream is to marry a nice Jewish man and live the same sort of life that her parents live,

• Adam Newman, Rachel’s longtime boyfriend and current fiancĂ©, and

• Ellie Schneider, Rachel’s gorgeous and troubled cousin.

Just like Wharton’s characters, Rachel and Adam are trapped in a society (tightly knit Jewish community) full of rules and mores.

When Adam realizes that the forbidden fruit (Ellie) may just be what his palate craves, he is forced to choose between what he wants and what everyone thinks he should want.

The characters in this novel are pretty hate-able, particularly Rachel and Adam. But there are other things about this novel that bother me. It takes place in London, but British slang hardly makes an appearance in the dialogue. I kept forgetting that it did not take place in the US. Also, there was a lot of explanation of Jewish holidays and customs, which seemed stilted and unnatural.

This novel failed to interest me. An epic fail.


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