A Beautiful Family – Marilyn Cohen de Villiers

I found “A Beautiful Family” to be a great read for me. It was not only entertaining, it was also educational. The story takes place over decades, going back and forth through different time periods, with each main character having a few chapters where the story is told from their point of view, before moving on to the next character, and a few chapters with their point of view. This actually lent to the flow of the story, and did not confuse it or make it difficult to read, as you may think from reading my descriptions of how the story was composed.

A Beautiful Family Cover

This story takes you through the life of a young Jewish couple, Alan and Brenda Silverman; the husband being over-achieving in his business dealings, and far from adequate as a father and husband. Brenda and their three children are also part of the story, as well as friends who were very dear to Brenda. This story takes place in a couple different locations, the main one being South Africa. The Jewish beliefs, religion, and lifestyle is very much a part of this story, and I definitely learned some things about the Jewish religion that I was previously not familiar with.

The focus of this story is how this family evolves as they go from young lovers, to young married parents, to spouses who no longer get along. Although the fact that they are Jewish is a major part of the story, it is nothing that overwhelms the story or takes control of the plot of the book. If you are not familiar with a Jewish lifestyle, you can, and will, still very much enjoy this story.

This is a good sized read, but definitely worth it. As I try to not give away spoilers, I will just say that Alan Silverman has made quite a name for himself within the Jewish community; a community who believes that no one who is Jewish would commit crimes and sins against their fellow man. The façade of a life he had created slowly begins to crumble around him, and he keeps trying and trying to make it go away. A lengthy court hearing brings everything to light, and puts an end to one man’s control and abuse.

I apologize to anyone who is Jewish if I misspoke, misquote, or misused any Jewish terms in this review. Although I did learn a lot from this story, I am certainly no expert. I am of the Lutheran religion, that is what I know very thoroughly.

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