The World Outside
by Eva Wiseman
Random House of Canada Limited
Teens & YA, Children’s Fiction
Pub Date Apr 8, 2014
Chanie Altman is seventeen years old and lives in a Hasidic Jewish community in 1991. Her world centers around her religion, her faith and traditions. Chanie is also a twin her brother Moishe did not get enough oxygen at birth. Chanie’s family is strict her Mother will not allow her to be friends with anyone outside her faith, but she has a closeness with her Grandmother who survived Aushwitz.
Chanie’s Mother is strict not allowing her daughter to take part in many activities seemingly forgetting what it was like to be young.
Chanie loves music and dreams of going to Juliard but she has to sneak around getting the application and such because she knows her Mother will not approve. She believes Chanie should care for her brother and perhaps study at a religious school but Chanie has other dreams.
After her graduation Chanie’s twin brother Moishe dies and Chanie cannot help but blame herself because she feels it is because of her that he was starved of Oxygen at birth.
Later that Summer when an accident kills a colored child tensions between the Hasidic communities and the African American community only grows deeper so much so that a Jewish Scholar visiting from Australia is murdered and Chanie’s father is injured. Chanie’s grandmother becomes so disoriented feeling as if she is back in Poland and the Nazis are after her that she is fleeing the Nazis but she ultimately ends up dying but in the midst of all these tragedies Chanie’s mother begins to realize she may be wrong on some counts and things begin shifting as the tension between the Hasidic and African American community slowly begin shifting.
The World Outside is not just a coming of age story it’s a story of hope in the midst of loss as well as a story of overcoming prejudices.
I give this story five out of five stars