Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Review of The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 2014
Dates Read: September 5-9, 2015

Addie Baum tells her 22 year old granddaughter, Ava, her story growing up in the North End of Boston to Jewish-Russian immigrant parents who had a distrust for the changing American values. Reflecting on her 85 years when Ava asked her how she got to be the woman she is today, she starts her story in 1915 when she was just figuring out her own voice and view on life. Because of her parents distrust and their suspected affects on their three daughters, a lot of tension arose between them trying to maintain tradition and the ways of the old world and the girls trying to take advantage of the new opportunities for women during the time.

Addie's intelligence and curiosity gets the best of her as she explores the new culture her parents don't understand - movies or "moving pictures," short skirts, the celebrity culture, and eventually the right for women to vote. At a time when women are expected to marry right out of high school, she's determined to go to college. She also wants a career of her own and like any 15 year old, she wants to find true love. Addie explains that's the year she found her voice and made new friends who would have a profound affect on the course of her life.

Goodreads description explains, "from the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naïve girl she was and a wicked sense of humor."

In true Anita Diamant fashion, The Boston Girl is a detailed historical fiction account of a young woman's struggle and resilience in an ever changing twentieth-century America. We get a glimpse through Addie's eyes of a generation of women figuring out what it means to be a woman in the new landscape of America, and the world.
I enjoyed reading this book for book club, not only because it's historical fiction, but because it reminded me of the conversation I had with my own grandmother, at about the same age, when she told me about growing up in New York City in the 1920's and early 1930's as the daughter of Italian immigrants.

Rating: 4 out of 5

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE that quote. That is something I wish I had learned much earlier in my life. Great review! I definitely need to add this to my TBR!

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    Replies
    1. It's worth it! It's full of quotable lines.

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