Unchosen, by Julie Burchill

It wasn’t the culture, the humour, or the food that drew the Queen of Brighton writers to the Jews.

UnchosenCoverIt wasn’t the culture, the humour, or the food that drew the Queen of Brighton writers to the Jews.

It was something else, something deeper, darker and nameless. But drew her, it did. In this very funny and very moving book, Burchill describes her mother’s despair when Julie tells her at a very early age that she wants to marry a Jew. Her mother, the exquisitely named Bette, tears her hair and replies in a heavy West Country accent “Well, where we going to get one o’them round ‘ere?!”

This is a glorious memoir that throws up some wonderful questions and quotes. Tanya Gold says that Julie has “the most extreme case of Jew madness” and indeed there is something of the manic quality to her lifelong obsession, but that, of course, just makes it more compelling than ever to read. No stranger to controversy, indeed she woos it with an ardour usually found in fervent love letters of an elderly roué to a young girls, this book will shock and entertain equally.

“Women who convert to Islam have as much sense as those dozy cows that write love letters to serial rapists and murderers,” is one of the least contentious claims. But, as usual, she’s quite right.

The teenage Julie gets a look in, telling us of how she brooded in her room about the atrocities committed

to the Jews with the same level of dedication about the unfairness of not being old enough to marry Marc Bolan.

You’ve gotta love her.