Cut Me Loose
Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood
by Leah Vincent
Pub Date 12 May 2015
CUT ME LOOSE: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood (Penguin / on-sale: May 12, 2015 / 978-0-14-312741-3 / $16.00) by Leah Vincent is an electrifying memoir about a young woman’s self-destructive spiral after being cast out by her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family.
Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect that shuns the modern world. She and her ten siblings adored their father, an influential rabbi, and sought his approval as the head of their traditional household. But Leah began to notice and disagree with some aspects of this fundamentalist, male-centered world; she protested her father’s racial slurs and dreamed of going to college. When, at sixteen, Leah was caught exchanging letters with a boy—breaking a religious ban on contact between the sexes—her family cut all ties. Sent to live on her own in New York City, adrift and unprepared for the freedoms of secular life, Leah’s desperate loneliness coupled with her stubborn loyalty to the dogma of her past pulled her into a vicious cycle of promiscuity and self-harm.
It took a shocking state of despair to empower her to transform a life of tragedy into a tale of unexpected triumph, one that illuminates both the oppressive world of religious fundamentalism and the broader issues facing young women from all backgrounds as they grapple with sexuality and identity.
In the vein of Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted, this brutally honest memoir tells the story of one woman’s struggle to define herself as an individual.
ABOUT THE AUTHORLeah Vincent is a writer and activist. The first person in her family to go to college, she went on to earn a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School as a Pforzheimer Fellow. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Daily Beast, and the Jewish Daily Forward.
“Wrenching ... Her book should be read, not just as a warning of the very real dangers of the world, but also of the price to be paid when, in the name of religion, people forget humanity.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A sometimes-sweet, sometimes-harrowing memoir by a smart, passionate ultra-Orthodox girl. . . .
engrossing and so thoughtfully written, and never mocks the traditions and values of a culture that few
of us can fully comprehend.”—People.com
“Painfully raw.”— New York Post
“Gripping. . . . Readers will appreciate Vincent's uncensored honesty in sharing the horrors of her past.”
—The Washington Post
“Visceral and uplifting.” —The Daily Beast
“As thoughtful and heroic as it is gripping and tragic ... riveting and relatable ... [Vincent] familiarizes, rather than exoticizes, the life she's led ... The finest example of this sort of memoir yet.” —Flavorwire