Brazen By Julia Haart
Book/Novel Author: Julia Haart
Book/Novel Title: Brazen
WALL STREET JOURNAL AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • From the star of the Netflix reality series My Unorthodox Life, a riveting, inspiring memoir of one woman’s escape from an extremist religious sect and an extraordinary rise from housewife to shoe designer, to CEO and co-owner of the modeling agency Elite World Group“An irresistible read . . . Written with great intensity and rare candor, Brazen is a story of longing for more and manifesting that vision.”—Tommy HilfigerEver since she was a child, every aspect of Julia Haart’s life—what she wore, what she ate, what she thought—was controlled by the dictates of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. At nineteen, after a lifetime spent caring for her seven younger siblings, she was married off to a man she barely knew. For the next twenty-three years, her marriage would rule her life. Eventually, when Haart’s younger daughter, Miriam, started to innocently question why she wasn’t allowed to sing in public, run in shorts, or ride a bike without being covered from neck to knee, Haart reached a breaking point. She knew that if she didn’t find a way to leave, her daughters would be forced into the same unending servitude that had imprisoned her.So Haart created a double life. In the ultra-Orthodox world, clothing has one purpose—to cover the body, head to toe—and giving any thought to one’s appearance beyond that is considered sinful, an affront to God. But when no one was looking, Haart would pore over fashion magazines and sketch designs for the clothes she dreamed about wearing in the world beyond her Orthodox suburb. She started preparing for her escape by educating herself and creating a “freedom” fund. At the age of forty-two, she finally mustered the courage to flee the fundamentalist life that was strangling her soul.Within a week of her escape, Haart founded a shoe brand, and within nine months, she was at Paris Fashion Week. Just a few years later, she was named creative director of La Perla. Soon she would become co-owner and CEO of Elite World Group, and one of the most powerful people in the fashion industry. Along the way, her four children—Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam, and Aron—have not only accepted but embraced her transformation.Propulsive and unforgettable, Haart’s story is the journey from a world of no to a world of yes, and an inspiration for women everywhere to find their freedom, their purpose, and their voice.
I am baffled by the good reviews. It’s clear the author thinks a lot of herself but I don’t understand why an editor didn’t help her frame things better. The graphic sex descriptions are gratuitous if I’m being kind and immature and stupid if I am not; we get it, you’re beautiful and weren’t able to live your authentic life for 40 years but now you can so you had sex in public at the Trevi Fountain. Rather than being the feminist manifesto she desperately wants it to be, she comes across and deeply insecure as illustrated by constantly telling us how intelligent she is (and since childhood), what an amazing teacher she was even though she hated it, and how everyone loves her shoe design. Warning: If you don’t enjoy the overuse of ‘ecstatic’ or ‘thrilled’ maybe skip this one.
Julia is a force of nature and had a crazy life. While some of her experiences are quite extreme, many of them are common and relatable. She learns to be her own strength, and it is impossible not to cheer her on!
The first half fascinated and appalled me about how the strict orthodox jews treat women. The second part after she gets away was bizarre. The book is interesting but also very disturbing.
After watching the show on Netflix I was curious to learn more of Julia’s backstory and pre-ordered the book. I enjoyed reading about Julia’s life – which sounded like exhausting prior to her breaking free from the confines of the religion. However I felt there was still a lot that was glossed over that would have made for interesting reading, such as the mechanics of how she managed to stay in such expensive suites, how she was living in hotels, how was affording her designer wardrobe, how they built the comfort molds, whose feet were the model for this, did they do the most popular sizes first and then build upon this, etc… So many more questions…. It sounded like a lot of cash was being thrown around and the accountability wasn’t very good; but that is as much a part of the journey and the story. From polyester wedding dress to designer wardrobe.I think anyone reading this is curious about the financial journey for someone making such a drastic life change… And I must admit that I was also a little disappointed that it didn’t tell the La Perla story in more detail – but I now understand that it may not have been possible due to the current divorce.Perhaps she will make another one after resolving this chapter of her life. It’s inspiring to read about someone making such a massive change at her age.In any case, I take my hat off to her for what she has accomplished and will continue to follow where her journey takes her.
I could hardly put the book down. I wanted to keep reading. Amazing what she went through to get where she is!