My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

Five Stars

Available at Amazon

This is the first book by Chaim Potok I’ve read. I’m sorry I waited this long to find him. In this “coming-of-age” tale of a Hasidic Jewish child with a natural talent and internal drive to draw and paint, I felt like I knew what Asher Lev was going through. The author’s writing style is engaging, entrancing, and, because of his style, easy and interesting to read.

Asher Lev demonstrates an imaginative talent as young as six when he instinctively tries new techniques such as cigarette ashes to bring highlights to a drawing of his mother. The story continues through his young adult years as he matures into a man and a world-famous artist torn between his work, family, and Hasidic beliefs. One certainly doesn’t need to be familiar with the Jewish tradition to enjoy Asher’s story. One thought I had while reading “My Name is Asher Lev” was: would Asher be diagnosed today as having some form of autism and be drugged away from his natural talent?

I’m going to read more by Mr. Potok and I highly recommend this book to become acquainted with him.