Stretching The Borders

I just finished Stretching The Borders by Yael Shachnay. It took me a very long time to read this particular book. Much longer than it takes me to normally read a book. Don't worry, I'll get into that shortly.

Stretching The Borders tells the story of an Israeli woman, Naomi Raziel. She is currently married to Reuben and they have to children together, Uri and Ayelet. However, Naomi is not truly content in her life. On one fateful day, she meets her neighbor, Avinoam, whose wife is dying. Shortly thereafter, Naomi begins a torrid affair with Avinoam. One that will change their lives forever.

First, I'd like to state that I wouldn't classify this book as a "romance" novel. Yes, there are love stories here. Both Naomi with Reuben and Naomi with Avinoam. But I wouldn't say that is really the driving point of the story. The story is really about Naomi's wish to learn more about herself and try to stay the carefree, wild child she used to be. Everything that occurs within the story is a direct result of that one wish - to be the girl she used to be.

Second, I'd like to note that the book can be very difficult to read. This is why it took me so long. The book is written entirely from the first person perspective. That, alone, is fine. But there are times when the narrating character changes and the book doesn't give us any hints that we are no longer "inside" Naomi. It isn't until you get past the 'Wait, what?' moment and realize that we're now "inside" someone else that things make a bit more sense. In addition, the book is written as a very long letter to an old friend. That makes the character shifts even more jarring.

With both of those points made, I did enjoy the story. Granted, I didn't particularly like Naomi. She is a rather self-centered woman only concerned with how she used to be. While she seems to care for both her husband and children, it feels like a shallow thing that only exists so they can love her more. But, overall, I would recommend the book. Just give yourself plenty of time and patience to finish it.


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