The Boston Girl

The Book: The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant

The Blurb: 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.

The Babble: The stories of growing up in the nascent years of the 20th century are usually portrayed as exciting and adventurous or as frightful and hard. In The Boston Girl, Anita Diamant attempts to share both the exhilaration and the struggle of those time with her story of Addie, a first generation Jew raised in a cold-water tenement. Touching on family dynamics, friendship and women’s education, employment and equal rights, this fictive oral history educates as well as entertains. While The Boston Girl‘s heroine Addie didn’t entangle my imagination as strongly as Diamant’s Dinah from The Red Tent, I did come to like her and would love to have delved as deeply into her post-child raising years as we did in her pre-marital years. To have witnessed almost of century of American change is an amazing thing.

The Behest: I received this book free from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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