Cover Image: Different


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I honestly had the hardest time with Different. The premise was incredible, because I'm always looking to diversify my reading with cultures and people different from myself, so I was really looking forward to reading about a black, jewish man during world war 2.

I was honestly disappointed. What I expected was far from what I got. I expected the story to be mainly about Darius, but the book was split between Darius and his family. Even once Darius grew up and became an adult, I still had to read about his family, who I honestly couldn't have cared less about.

The reason I struggled with his family's being included in the story was because the tagline specifically states "the interesting story of Darius Stein." So, I actually thought the story would be about Darius. When I kept having to read about his family, I kept getting pulled out of the story and it frustrated me.

I did enjoy the aspects of Jewish culture that I got to learn about, but the rest of it made the overall story a struggle for me, so recommending it is difficult.

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I have always loved stories of heroes facing discrimination, And this one, aptly titled DIFFERENT, tells a story of a black AND Jewish young man, in the waning days of WW2 and the postwar society in London. The struggle felt real, I loved following Darius through his trials and tribulations in a society that has very clear-cut labels for people like him, and I loved how he coped through martial arts. A take on racism that pulls no punches, this book made me proud to be DIFFERENT. Solid ten out of five.

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A Gripping Adventure and Action-Packed Storyline with Genuine Empathy.
Different by David Gelernter is professionally researched book and delves into the history of both the black and Jewish cultures during and post-World War Two. It is set against the tumultuous backdrop of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The author has balanced a gripping adventure and action-packed storyline with genuine empathy. Darius evolves, mastering martial arts and becoming a beacon of hope for the oppressed.

I loved this book right from the first page Carrie Stein gives birth to a little black baby boy and her family are shocked, but she was lonely, and her husband has been gone away in the war for six years.
When Henry finally returns home little Darius is now a toddler. Henry now gives Carrie an ultimatum she can leave with Darius or stay and put little Darius up for adoption. Carrie refuses to give Darius up and in the heat of the moment Henry gets out of control of his temper and he beats Carrie up. Shortly after he leaves and moves back in with his parents leaving Carrie and their two children at home. Shortly afterwards Carrie winds up dead due to poisoning and Darius is quickly shipped of by Henry to an all-white orphanage.

Darius now must learn Navigating through prejudice, secrets, and a relentless quest for belonging in an unforgiving world. Darius grows up and evolves and learns by mastering martial arts after being bullied for years. Eventually Darius finds a loving couple who become proxy parents and Wesley and Hannah grow to love him like a son and guide and support him on his journey in life to finding who he is and tracking down his birth family and the turbulent relationship this will bring into his life with his family.

This is the first book I have read by this author and was extremely impressed and it is a Great piece of writing. Darius is a great read which I found I could not put down and I Enjoyed every minute of this book, and I highly recommended it. Great for Book Clubs as plenty to discuss. Thanks to NetGalley and to the publishers of this book for giving me a free advance copy of the book to preview and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Thank you for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm sorry to say that I really struggled with this book. The writing is poor and amateur and the dialogue is inauthentic. It's full of extraneous descriptions that add nothing to the story,I feel it could be cut down by 50 pages at least. Sadly, it reads like a story from chat magazine or a gcse English assignment. I think there are the bones of a decent story but it's poorly executed.

I found Debbie's exclamation of "if he wasn't my brother" to be totally repulsive and unnecessary. Similar Henry saying "I bet she loves black sausage". Why the incestuous overtones?

There was also questionable character development, which was at times unrealistic and felt contrived for certain plot points.

I'm also not sure about a non black author writing a black main character, it again felt inauthentic and stereotypical.
This is just my opinion but it wasn't for me. If you like this type of story and style you may enjoy.

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This was a beautifully done historical fiction novel, it had that concept that worked well overall in the storyline. The characters worked well in this time-period and I was invested in the story and how the characters worked in this universe. David Gelernter writes everything that I was hoping for.

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Different by David Gelernter is more of a saga than a story. At its root is the momentary error of Carrie Stein, who, moved by the kindness of an American service man, fell into bed with him. She never saw him again. In fairness, she’d only seen him a handful of times before this. When she went back to share her news, the base knew nothing of him. She wasn’t sure how hard they tried. To put it bluntly, she was pregnant. Her husband was off fighting the war and had been for nearly five years. They already had two children so a third was not burden. In her naivete, Carrie thought the baby would be white, maybe a little darker than the others, but white. But, no, to everyone’s shock he was black. The midwife, aghast, packed up and left immediately. Her sister looked on curiously as she made up a story for her two children about colors coming from far back in history sometimes. Rita had thought the baby was Carrie’s husband, Henry’s. Henry knew nothing about this. Eventually Carrie wrote to him but left out the black part. Well, a Jewish colored person. Eventually Henry came home and things went downhill.

Darius was a truly amazing person. He survived being the only colored child in the orphanage and after he left he met a Jamaican man who took him home and he became part of their family at eighteen. He met a girl. There were problems at the bowling alley over color, a fight, and her parents made her stop seeing Darius. Instead of wallowing, Darius set out to be sure it wouldn’t happen again. This story was really more about Darius and his growth as a human being than the Steins, although they obviously featured in it. Darius turned out to be an amazing man: strong, intelligent, gentle, but able to defend himself when need be. He was almost too perfect a character. He WAS different. The story was good, if a little unbelievable. It was an enthralling read about a black/Jewish hero.

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of Different by Book Whisperer, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #BookWhisperer #DavidGelernter #Different

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I'm a person who reads the Bible so all the Jewish aspects described in this book were fascinating to me. The Jewish angle coupled with a person of color, certainly brought out the ugly racial prejudices and was a way to further this reader's knowledge of what others endure at the hands of evil intentioned people. That being the case, I really admired Darius, the main character, who was an overcomer. This book itself was different - in a good sort of way - I really enjoyed reading it and wondered what would happen next as I read along.

There is a good mix of happily ever after and of not so happily so the author keeps you a bit off-balance and guessing, "What next?" Besides the crime, I think the martial arts, which were a type I've never heard of before, and fighting scenes would likely appeal more to male readers. There is multicultural interest for those who care, and romance bits for ladies, so there is something for everyone. The only caution I'd say, would be for those who don't like to read about intimate bedroom scenes. Other than that I'd christen this a strong, fabulous story. Therefore, I bestow a tempered 4 Star rating.

~Eunice C., Reviewer/Blogger~

October 2023

Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy sent by NetGalley and the publisher.

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When Jewish wife and mother Carrie Stein gives birth to a little black baby her family is shocked but it is World War II and she is lonely and her husband has been gone for six years when he did visit and he wasn’t the same but when he finally comes home little Darius is now a toddler and Kerry refuses to give him up even though that is Henry’s ultimatum when she winds up dead due to poisoning her husband is the main suspect a little Darius is sent to an all white orphanage where he will grow up but eventually fine proxy parents and Wesley and Hannah Jamaican immigrants who love him like a son he turns out to be 6 foot six a tall healthy boy and at the age of 20 learns an ancient martial arts after being beat up for being black in with a beautiful woman at a bowling alley. He eventually gets a job as a debt collector for his boss at the construction site as the book goes on we watch him learn life lessons but everything has a cost and he will go through his own turmoil when he decides to learn about his history I don’t want to get too much away this is a long book it is emotional and at times I cheered for Darius and at all those felt so sorry for him but in the end I am happy I read this book this was an awesome book but let me reiterate it is long but so worth reading. A really entertaining story about a black Jewish boy who finds his place in the world despite the hatred of others including his own stepfather. What a great book I want to thank the book whisperer AnNet Galley for my free arc copy please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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