A River Could Be a Tree: A Memoir

(Author) (Foreword by)

Product Details

$23.95  $22.03
Fig Tree Books LLC
Publish Date
6.2 X 1.6 X 9.3 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About the Author

Angela Himsel is a freelance writer based in New York City whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Jewish Week, the Forward, Lilith Magazine, BOMB Magazine and several other outlets. Her weekly column "Angetevka" on Zeek.net examined her life as an observant Jew on Manhattan's Upper West Side against the backdrop of her fundamentalist Christian upbringing in Jasper, Indiana. For this body of work, Himsel received the American Jewish Press Association's Rockower Award for Excellence in Commentary. She holds a BA in religious studies from Indiana University, which included a two-year stint studying at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and also has an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York. Himsel is represented by The Deborah Harris Agency. More information can be found at AngelaHimsel.com.

Shulem Deen is a writer, journalist, and author of the award-winning memoir All Who Go Do Not Return. He is a regular contributor to the Forward, and in 2015 was listed in the Forward 50, an annual list of American Jews with outsized roles on political and social issues. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Salon, Tablet magazine, and elsewhere. He serves as a board member at Footsteps, a New York City-based organization that offers assistance and support to those who have left the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. He lives in Brooklyn.


"Candid and insightful. . . " --Ilana Kurshan, Lilith

"Inspiring and brave, A River Could Be a Tree defines what we all need in some way--the freedom to discover our own unique path in life and the courage to choose it. Throughout Angela's journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening, we recognize beauty in the uncertainty of life. Her ability to illuminate this is a true gift to her readers, and her story serves as a powerful reminder that we don't have to settle for what is expected of us. We can all find pieces of ourselves reflected in this delightful memoir." --Ruth Wariner, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir

"In A River Could Be a Tree, Angela Himsel falls in love with Judaism, and we fall in love with her. Her passion, humor, and curiosity shine through as she discovers it isn't the answers that give life meaning, but the quest for answers and the people met along the way." --Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

"An intriguing tale of one woman's search for identity and community." --Kirkus Reviews

"Angela Himsel's memoir A River Could Be a Tree is one woman's incredible journey down the proverbial road to Damascus, except that Angela's conversion was more process than presto. This coming of age memoir takes the reader from the faith of a childhood immersed in the Worldwide Church of God, to Orthodox Jewish New York, by way of Israel and Germany. Angela traces her genealogical and theological roots, in a search for identity and connection, and gives her readers stories of heartbreak, humor, longing, and love." --Lucia Greenhouse, author of fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science

"Adherents to any faith know well that religion can be both constricting and fulfilling at the same time. And at the core of everyone's spiritual journey is a belief that we are all seekers, searching for something deeper beyond ourselves. Himsel eloquently embodies this notion in her compelling new memoir. In often raw and engaging fashion, she takes her readers along for the ride--through love, loss, and religious rearrangement--to a conclusion that is both satisfying and enlightening." --Benyamin Cohen, author of My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith

"A River Could Be A Tree is an odyssey of love and faith, told in a voice mixed with pathos and humor. Angela Himsel shows us how intricate, layered, and painful are the bounds of family, and finally how it is possible to honor both the ties we are born with and the ones we choose to create on our own." --Gabrielle Selz, author of Unstill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction

"Honest, yet humane, Himsel masterfully describes her spiritual walk along life's long-narrow bridge from an impoverished childhood in rural Indiana with parents fiercely devoted to an apocalyptic cult, and ending in the embracing warmth of the Jewish community of the Upper West Side. Her journey is a testament to the importance of having no fear. In this regard, Himsel is not just a force of nature; she's the Mary Karr (author of The Liar's Club and Lit) of Indiana." --Mort Zachter, author of Dough: A Memoir, winner of the AWP Award

"A River Could Be a Tree is a riveting, intimate memoir of growing up in rural America in a family of eleven children with a father who is an avid follower of an Evangelical Christian sect. With boundless curiosity and rigorous erudition, Angela Himsel navigates a spiritual life while deftly melding the personal with the compelling realities of life in a cult and cultural norms in other religions. Sprawling several religious worlds, this tragicomic memoir is spellbinding." --Eva Fogelman, author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust