Chava and her girlfriend, Tova, are Hasidic Jews living in upstate New York. When the pressure is on for Tova to enter an arranged marriage, she runs away to New York City. Tova secretly calls Chava every week as promised, but the calls stop three weeks before Chava’s 18th birthday.
Finally an adult, Chava follows Tova to New York, determined to find her and make sure she’s safe. But while she’s far from the only queer homeless kid in the city, it’s not easy to find one person, especially when the streets aren’t always safe.
Given that it’s a short story, we don’t get to know the characters very well. However, they and their story are compelling, and I was rooting for them all the way.
The Writing Style
For such a short story, it accomplishes a lot, and that’s all down to how well it’s written. This is a Chanukah story and a love story, but it’s also political because it draws some desperately needed attention to the problem of LGBT youth homelessness. Despite covering a lot of ground in a short amount of words, it’s done delicately and in a style that is remarkably crisp and spare.
I could have happily read a full-length novel about these characters.
This is the first story I’ve read by Cindy Rizzo and I’m hooked. I need to read her other books. Get this story and read it right away.
Excerpt from The Miracle of the Lights by Cindy Rizzo
On the second night of Chanukah, I constructed a makeshift menorah out of an empty glass bottle and two tightly rolled pieces of paper crammed into the opening. Bending the papers away from one another, so that the whole contraption looked like the letter Y, I lit the ends, pretending the match was the shamash, and quickly said the blessings in a quiet corner of the park in Union Square.
I had been in this city four days—four cold and icy days—and I still had not found Tova.
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Bits and Bobs
- AISN number: B00SVJ7SB6
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Cindy Rizzo Online