I am Not Esther

Image“Who was I now? Who I used to be was disappearing and there were only bits of me left that sometimes I caught sight of in puddles or dark windows.”

By now you should all have read “I am not Esther”.  Please write a comment below in which you write your review of the book. Consider the following:

  • What is your personal opinion of the book?  
  • Did you like it or not?  Why?  
  • Briefly describe Esther’s character.  
  • Who is your favourite character in the book?  Why?
  • Who do you like least?  Why? 


57 thoughts on “I am Not Esther”

  1. ‘I Am Not Esther’ was an awesome and addictive book to keep on reading and never stop. I really liked the idea, plot and story of the book, the fact that it was et in New Zealand, and how detailed and hooking the text was. Esther seemed like the kind of girl who was independent and cared a lot more about others needs (like her mother’s) than her own. She stayed true to herself continuously and she didn’t hesitate to speak her personal opinion no matter what the situation. My favourite character in the book would probably have to be Esther because one, the book was written in her point of view and two, she just seemed like a really cool person, character and personality to have included in the book. The character I liked the least is Uncle Caleb because sure, he was living his life by The Rule and not letting anyone get in his way of his beliefs, but the fact that he dis-owned two or more of his family members for whatever reason is what got me, I mean it is a bit sad that you can just decide that you want to have nothing to do with a person all of a sudden by the click of the fingers. Overall, I think ‘I Am Not Esther’ was a great read and I am glad that I was told about it!

  2. I AM NOT ESTHER!!!! I didn’t vote for this book but I really enjoyed this book. I am going to do the review on uncle Caleb. From his point of view he lived by “the rule” and if he did everyone else had to, but if they didn’t they would be casted away from the family of god. I think that he is the one that has only one focus and that is the rule. I think that with out uncle Caleb in the book it would not be the same.

    This book is one that I would recommend to other people.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the book, Charlotte. Thank you for your comments but please could you read the blogpost again and look at what I asked you to write about? This is a little brief.

  3. I am not Esther. I had mixed emotions with this book, at the start I was finding it quite confusing but near the middle, I found it much more easy to understand. It is a well written book, with adventurous tales and big plot twists. I think that it was in the end was a very interesting and great book and I recommend it to other people.

  4. I really loved I am not Esther. I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t put it down!! It took me a while to get into it as I didn’t find it too interesting but I kept and and eventually I really enjoyed it. I recommend this book to everyone. Over and out!!

  5. I am not Esther…
    Wow! I’m glad I’d voted for this book, personally I found this an amazing read! It had such an unbelievable amount of emotion held in it, from not only Kirby/Esther but from Magdalene, Daniel, Kirby’s mother, and also from Uncle Caleb. It had many twists and turns in it, causing trepidation and drama.
    From my point of view Esther is a girl who lives with her Uncle Caleb, and the extremely strict rule. She gets into trouble often, and has a carefree spirit. She takes great care in looking after her cousins, especially her beloved Magdalene or Maggie. She is trying to stay as Kirby Greenland, the girl who looks after her mother as well as herself, is carefree, stands for what she believes in, has truck loads of will power, likes to have fun, and most importantly does not live by the rule. However, as days pass Kirby is finding it harder, and harder to stay as herself and not change into Esther.
    Briefly describe Esther’s character.
    My favorite character in this had to be Kirby, because not only did she save her aunt and baby cousin Zillah, help out Daniel and Magdalene, but she managed to stay sane and be true to herself. She is a caring person that looks after others needs, she strives for what she believes in and she states her truthful opinions.
    My least favorite character had to be… Uncle Caleb! Because he not only was very strict, but never let his wife have a say about anything, but also disowned his own blood.
    Overall I found that this book was a sensational read, and therefore recommend it to everyone!

  6. for “I am not esther” I really enjoyed this book but did find it a little confusing near the start but near the middle it got really into and found it quite hard to put down I think the book had a good plot and was quite interesting. I found esthers character quite a fun and funny character.

  7. For ‘I am not Esther’ I really enjoyed this book and really found it interesting. At the start I wasn’t really into it but then it got better and I couldn’t put the book down. Esther was a really cool character and I found her really funny and quirky

  8. I am not Esther. At the start of this book I was a bit confused but when I got closer to the middle I started to understand it more. I thought the plot was great and enjoyed the characters especially Esther’s because she is strong and funny. I like how at the end of the book everything works out. I recommend this book for everyone! 🙂

  9. I found ‘I am not Esther’ a really interesting book. I didn’t really get hooked at the start but by the middle it was really heart breaking stories and I couldn’t put the book down. Esther was my favourite character in the book she was very self scented and brave.

  10. I am glad you enjoyed the book, girls. Thank you for your comments but please could you read the blogpost again and look at what I asked you to write about? Some of these reviews don’t fulfil the brief.

    1. its very anoying that you judge people for they write butt i think you should be nice because me crying and sad about you sista

  11. I really enjoyed reading I AM NOT ESTER. I found the concept different though interesting as I had never read a book like it before. Also that it was set in New Zealand meant that I was able to relate to it and made me think of what it would be like if that was me in Esters position. Ester was my favourite character in the book as it was about her and how she reacted to the scenarios that occurred. My least favourite character was Uncle Caleb as I did not agree by the way he went by Rule and how strictly he pressured his family to live by it. Overall I enjoyed the book and it made me feel grateful for the way I live today.

    1. Great review, Katie. Thank you. I agree that having it set in NZ makes the situation more real and imaginable so that we can relate to the character much more easily.

  12. my review of I am not Esther
    this was a great book that had you hooked especially if you read the last page first (you sneaky things I know you did it) I loved how it made you feel if you were there in the story because it was so descriptive.
    the end was gripping how she found her mum in the end but she was scared that her mum was going to leave again that made me feel lucky that my parents were happy. Esther\Kirby she is strong willed and brave I couldn’t handle the feeling that you had been left at some religious cousins who you don’t even know!!! i liked the book as i have said at the top the description in it was amazing my favorite character would be Maggie she is cute because she is so innocent and doesn’t understand what is going on. my least favorite character would be kerby’s mum sorry, mean I know but she should of put trust in her daughter and sought out help
    by Fiona

  13. My Review of I am Not Esther:
    I thought this was a descriptive and gripping book. I found the ideas different, but they were still great. I am not Esther made my emotions swing, from sadness, sorrow and happiness. I recommend this book for ages 12+ as it is a bit hard to follow. Overall this was a great book and I suggest you read it.

  14. My personal opinion on I Am Not Esther is that it is very gripping, not only do you empathise for Esther but also for other characters. I did enjoy this book because it made you want to keep on reading. I think that Esther is a kind loving girl who will fight for what she believes in. My favourite character was Maggie, because she was so kind and loving to Esther.

    1. Over your two posts you manage to get most of the things I asked for in the blogpost. You also describe your emotions when reading which I think will really encourage others to read. Well done, Tindra

    2. By the way great variety of information here will check back frequently. thanks for digging in. I for one am so tired of hearing half truths from national and local media tv stations, cable as well. I am tired of being ignorant too. Yes I confess. Moving on now..

  15. I personally did not like this book because f the writing of it i mean it is a good idea but it is written badly.
    Esther’s character is a teenage girl with a hard life she is a mind of her own and does that stand for wrong, she is a nice girl with mood swings.
    Daniel is my favorite person in the book because he has a mind of his own and does not stand with his dad.Uncle Celeb is my least favorite person because he is rude and mean and does not have any respect

    1. Sorry my key bored had a little problem.

      I personally did not like this book because the writing of it was bad i mean it is a good idea but it is written badly.
      Esther’s character is a teenage girl with a hard life she is a mind of her own and does that stand for wrong, she is a nice girl with mood swings.
      Daniel is my favorite person in the book because he has a mind of his own and does not stand with his dad.Uncle Celeb is my least favorite person because he is rude and mean and does not have any respect

    2. Thank you Olivia. In what way do you think it was badly written? I can see that you might like the characters that stanbd up for themselves. It is important to be true to our values, isn’t it?

  16. I liked this book a lot but I don’t think I could read it again since now I know what happens it won’t be so gripping. The book is about a girl called Kirby. She is a modern, ordinary girl who’s world is ripped away when her mother abandons her to a strange family of relatives. She remains strong as they try to make her like them -they change her name to Esther-, and in the end she escapes from the world of her strange relatives and is reunited with her mother. My favourite character in this book was Daniel, Kirby’s cousin, because he stays strong to himself and his own beliefs even when he has grown up with different ones forced on him. I liked Kirby’s friends least because when she was forced out of society, they didn’t stick by her like real friends.

  17. My personal opinion of ‘I am Not Esther’ is that it was quite a good book. At the beginning, I was finding the plot quite confusing and I was not enjoying the style of read. But as it went on, it got very gripping, and hard to put the book down.
    Yes I did enjoy this book because it holds a lot of secrets and plot twists which really got me thrilled and excited to read more.
    Esther is an interesting character, she fights for what she wants/believes in and she mostly won’t take no for an answer. She also has a soft side, which includes her love for kids, and she would sometimes even have to give into writing psalms everyday for the love of her little cousins.
    My favorite character was Maggie, because she was cute and was always asking questions. She was also always loving to Esther/
    Uncle Caleb, because he was demanding and was keeping secrets from her, and from his own kids. He would yell at the kids, and make them pray all the time.

    1. This is an excellent review, Katie. You have nailed Kirby/Esther’s character down to a “T”. But am I talking to Katie B or Katie M?

  18. I really liked this book. This book for me started out really slowly so it didn’t get me right into the book but after a while I really started t enjoy the book. I did like this book. It was something that made you think and I really enjoy those types of books. She has some way of things and I would say she is controlling of her mother and then when she goes to her uncles she can’t be controlling over anyone anymore. I would have to say to counselor as she has helped her and Miriam to get out of there. She shows nice, loving and caring and so much more. She seems like someone you could count on. I would have to say Uncle Caleb as he is not very nice…

    1. Thank you, Charlotte. You have chosen an interesting favourite character and you also have a different perspective of Esther/Kirby. Well done.

  19. I have recently finished ‘I am not Esther’ and I really enjoyed it/ I ended up reading the whole book till two in the morning, because I couldn’t put it down.I recommend this to people who like to think deeply about what they read as the theme of the book has a lot of deep thoughts in it. I am not Esther makes us see a different view on religions and traditions of other people living in New Zealand (and the rest of the world).

    I am not Esther is about a young girl named Kirby. Her mother dissapears and doesn’t tell her why. She has been left with her Uncle who is part of a strict religious Culture. Kirby’s name is change to Esther and she has to follow the rules. When is has done something wrong, she is sent to the discipline room and there she had to recite a psalm. Esther doesn’t often follow the rules ether. There is no T.V, radio, photos, paintings, newspapers or mirrors. This took a lot of getting used to.

    My favourite character is Kirby/ Esther because she stands up for herself and what she believes. My least favourite character in the book is her uncle because he doesn’t explain anything to Esther.

    1. Well done, Janneke. I like how you have added some personal comment about how much you ere hooked into this book. Your comments about the themes are thoughtful.

  20. I really enjoyed the book I am Not Esther,
    It was really descriptive and had lots of different surprises. It had a great concept and was interesting seeing what others believe in. I really liked this book because it created a picture in my head and kept surprising me, so I wanted to read more. Esther’s character had to overcome lots of challenges such as her mum leaving her, not being able to understand why and where she went and last of all living with a different family/beliefs not finished!

  21. She had to learn her relatives way while trying to find her mother. Her name was changed and she was given a new identity. She had to cope with all the changes in her life while looking after the family/relatives. She then got l kicked out with her cousin Daniel and lived with Miriam. Then the found her mother and she had to learn how to deal with her problem indstead of pushing them deeper. My favourite character was Daniel because he wanted to do something with his life and tried to have a future as a doctor and stay with his family but then he got kicked out and started living his life and getting to know the world around him. My least favourite character was Kirbys mum as she didn’t tell her daughter where she was going and didn’t tell her about anything about her or her past. She had been lost in her past and didn’t live life to the fullest. She didn’t look after her own child and left Kirby with her relatives that she knew was not right and on top of that she abandoned her son.

    1. Thank you, Jess. You have made some thoughtful comments about Kirby’s Mum which raise some interesting issues. it would be good to explore these further.

  22. I have finished reading I am not Esther, and I thought it was a very good book. The first chapter was a little confusing, but later on in the book, I started understanding it better, and then I wanted to know what happens at the end of the book. I like the ‘I am not Esther’ as it brought me into the book, it had a good plot and I was interested as to what Esther would do in her new life. Esther is a strong, disobedient, carefree girl in her new life, but she used to be a friendly, loving girl to her Mum before the move. I like Esther/kirby best as she shows how she cares for her new family- as much as she disliked the strictness of them, but also the whole time she stayed true to what she believed in, and never gave up. I dislike Uncle Caleb the least, as he seems like the boss of everything and never lets his wife say anything, but only to be bossed around, and he doesn’t have any respect for anything or anyone. Overall this was a good book and I would recommend it to others to read.

  23. I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale is an amazing read for all girls our age. It’s a unique idea and interesting idea which I have not come across before. It’s definitely a topic that most girls our age wouldn’t think or know about unless they read this book. This book is an eye-opener as it made me realize just how dedicated some people are about certain things.

    The main character, Esther, is stubborn, curious, adventurous and strong minded. I get the sense that she would always be there for those she cares about and would strive to ‘keep the peace’. I love how she was always there for Maggie.

    My favorite character in this book would have to be Miriam. Although she wasn’t physically there a lot, she was no doubt a large part of the story. The reason as to why she’s my favorite character is that she stood up for what she believed in even when she knew of the consequences. For example when it mentions her drawing non biblical things. She kept on doing it not because she wanted to rebel, but because it was something that made her happy.

    (I’ll do a least favorite character later when I have time)

  24. I Am Not Esther, by Fleur Beale.
    I think that this is an amazing book and opens our eyes to the way that cultures are different from society. I think that it is a good way for us to learn about different ways religions work and the way that some strict religions. It shows the way people react in some different environments than what they are used to.
    I admire the way that Esther shows empathy to Maggie even though she doesn’t like being there and that she thinks about the way that Maggie must be feeling. I think that Daniel was very brave to stand up for what he wanted in life and what he believed in, rather to not stand up to his family and be stuck in something that didn’t make him happy.
    Esther is a very courageous person and very stubborn in the way she handles things with her Uncle and Aunt, I think she is loving to her new family by the way she helps Daniel and Maggie and put herself on the line to help her Aunt.
    My favorite character was Daniel because he wanted to follow his dreams even though that meant leaving everything he had. he was very caring to Esther and everyone in his family even though they were not caring or loving to him at times.
    I liked Her uncle least because he didn’t threat people with respect.
    I loved this book and i would highly recommend it to anyone.

    1. This is a thoughtfully written review, Steph. You have examined why you like and dislike the characters in some depth in such a short piece. It will be interesting to add some evidence to your ideas later on.

  25. I am not Esther is a thrilling and compelling book, although I felt as though the book was rushed at the beginning then it gradually slowed down. I was very interested in the topic of this book as it was unique. I really enjoyed this book and would love to see it as a movie.

    Esther is a confident, determined girl, strong hearted, strong minded and inquisitive. From the perspective that the book gives, I think it gives you a view of Esther as someone who sticks up for what she believes in and would stop at nothing for something she is passionate for. I think she would be a great leader.

    My favourite character is Esther, she is a very strong and powerful girl who could support herself. I believe she is a role model and what other girls aspire to be. I love the drive and passion she has towards the outlooks on life. She gives you the sense as if she could conquer the world.

    My least favourite character was uncle Caleb because he did not show respect and understanding. I think he could be misunderstood as a person in general because he is just following the Faith and showing tough love. However I do not believe it means for him to be cruel to others and dominate everyone. There are many other solutions which he refuses to consider.

      1. When I started reading this book, I was perplexed as to where this book was headed and uninterested. What hooked me was when Kirby’s mother left Kirby with her relatives whom she had no knowledge about. I personally loved this book because of how complex it is, whether it’s understanding different perspectives or morally gray characters. You have to umderstand that most of the characters in this book are victims in their situation and are perpetuating views they had grown up with their whole lives without the influence from the outside world.

        Initially reading this book when I was 15, I found Kirby (will not refer to her as Esther because that is not her name) irritable and dislikable. Although she was a victim in her situation and rightfully frustrated and angry, I didn’t like her treatment of her mother and how rebellious she was. After a second re-read, I understood Kirby more and higher authority like parents, guardians or teachers are also human, therefore not always right. The book did a good exploration of mental health, though I wish it were explained further instead of leaving it all in the climax (counselling Kirby and her mother).

        My favourite character was Maggie because of her character development. She seemed like a strict mother who forces her values onto her children and is the sufferer of her children. Although true, we get to see her vulnerablility, for example when birthing Ziller and Daniel’s excommunication from the church. She is a victim of years of abuse from the Church, her bringing up and her own husband. Even though the book is from Kirby’s perspective, I felt that remorse for her because I got the feeling she missed her children.

        My least favourite characters were both Caleb and Kirby’s mother for different reasons. Caleb was easy to dislike because of his treatment toward his family and lack of nurturing. Even though I understood Kirby’s mum’s pain and suffering, the reason why I put her as one of my least favourite characters is because she left her daughter with Caleb knowing it was a cult. Kirby’s mother had another brother who was excommunicated. I do not understand why she couldn’t find him and left Kirby under his roof if her situation was bad. I vaguely remember Kirby’s mother’s situation and why it came down to that, but I wish her story was explored more.

  26. Going into this book, you have to understand the world is not black and white. All characters have likable qualities and dislikable qualities. For example, a character like Kirby who most find likable has dislikable qualities like her inability to listen and she is controlling. She isn’t a bad person for that, she is human. On the other hand, a character like Caleb who most find dislikable for obvious passive aggressions and abusive tendancies has likable qualities, he still cared and tended his family (in a twisted way of showing his care). It goes to show years of intergenerational trauma and how that lifestyle and upbringing affects people. Caleb genuinely thinks that him praying to God for countless of hours and imposing religious beliefs on his children will help his whole family go to the better afterlife. If he hated his children, he wouldn’t care to pray for his children and their souls in the afterlife. It’s what he knows about loving his family. Unhealthy, but sadly his reality.

    Also, my favourite character was Naomi (I thought her name was Maggie).

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