Author: Anita Diamant
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Price: $20.00 CAD (Hardcover) Indigo Books & Music Online
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable coming-of-age novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.
Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine – a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love.
Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today?” She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. 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.
Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Anita Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth-century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.
“Ava, sweetheart, if you ask me to talk about how I got to be the woman I am today, what do you think I’m going to say?”
Not going to lie here, The Boston Girl has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time before I finally picked it up. I originally thought this would not be a good book for me because at the time I got it, historical fiction wasn’t really my cup of tea. But a couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning my shelves and I landed upon this novel crammed underneath a bunch of secondhand bookstore finds and I’m so happy I did because I really enjoyed this book!
The Boston Girl is about the life of Addie Baum and how she became who she is now. She’s telling the story of her life to her grandchild, Ava, for an interview project. Addie realizes her grandchildren don’t know as much on her past as she thought, so she jumps into her retelling.
Right off the bat, I was captivated by this story. The Boston Girl explores what it is like for oppressed societies in the early twentieth century and the difficulties women faced in order to attain their education. We are teleported to the 1910s and are living Addie’s teenage years with her, seeing her fight with her parents because she wants to go to high school and witness the death of her elder sister.
This novel is really descriptive which I think enhanced the reading experience. Addie’s personality was enthralling to me. I love a story about very strong-willed and determined women. Especially those who do not let the constrictions of her upbringing get in the way of her pursuing what she desires.
Another aspect I found intriguing, was when Addie was facing the great peril in her teenage years for not exceeding her parents’ expectations, and she ran off and found the Saturday Club which is basically a group of women and girls alike supporting each other. I loved this part of the book so much because she found herself some lifelong friends so surround herself with and I enjoyed it so much!
“How did I get to be the woman I am today? It started in that library, in the reading club. That’s where I started to be my own person.”
Omgeee I also just love a book that has a long timeline and jumps in time. It makes everything so much more sentimental and interesting! In The Boston Girl, the timeline is Addie’s life! The jumps in time was so great because I got to witness the evolution of all the characters, like her friends from the Saturday Club, who are all grown up and having kids, her parents becoming more accepting of her and the growth of her kids and family! These are the parts in books that always guarantee to have me in tears. The character development in The Boston Girl where sooooo good!
I genuinely enjoyed reading The Boston Girl, simply because it explores important topics such as, oppression, feminism, childhood hardships, and what its like for immigrant families to adapt in a new country. Although a work of fiction, I am able to retain a lot of valuable information from this novel. I just can’t believe that some girls still need to fight like Addie! (I just finished We Are Displaced, which is Malala Yousafzai’s second book about Immigrant’s stories and hardships and I feel so useless because I want to help these girls! The feminism committee at my school never seems to have meetings! 🙁 )
Anyways, I would recommend The Boston Girl to anyone who wants to read a book about coming of age women, (I sure know I do!) and those who want a nice book to indulge on during a snow storm, like I did. 🙂
“Never apologize for being smart.”
–The Boston Girl, Anita Diamant
Have and excellent day and let me know what you thought of The Boston Girl or my review!
– Emma 🙂