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Publisher: Scribner Book Company$16.00The Boston Girl (Large Print Hardcover)
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ProductsMore About The Boston Girl by Anita DiamantOverviewFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable 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 naive 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.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Bestseller Diamant (The Red Tent) tells a gripping story of a young Jewish woman growing up in early-20th-century Boston. Addie Baum, an octogenarian grandmother in 1985, relates long-ago history to a beloved granddaughter, answering the question: “How did I get to be the woman I am today?” The answer: by living a fascinating life. First reminiscing about 1915 and the reading club she became a part of as a teenager, Addie, in a conversational tone, recounts the lifelong friendships that began at club meetings and days by the seaside at nearby Rockport. She tells movingly of the fatal effects of the flu, a relative’s suicide, the touchy subject of abortion and its aftermath, and even her own disastrous first date, which nearly ended in rape. Ahead of her time, Addie also becomes a career woman, working as a newspaper typist who stands up for her beliefs at all costs. This is a stunning look into the past with a plucky heroine readers will cheer for. (Dec.)BookPage Reviews
A girl grows in Boston
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, December 2014
Reading Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl is a bit like listening to an older relative tell stories at Thanksgiving—and that’s a good thing. Because Addie Baum, the book’s 85-year-old narrator (who is telling her tales to her college-age granddaughter throughout the book), is one entertaining older relative.
The story Addie weaves is of her own life, which began in Boston in 1900. She grew up as the whip-smart daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants, who struggle to understand their free-spirited child, the only one of their three daughters born in the U.S. But despite being routinely smothered at home, she ably explores life on her own terms.
In 1915, the bookish Addie is asked to recite “Paul Revere’s Ride” at the Saturday Club, a group of young women from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds. This is the start of her intellectual, artistic and feminist journey. From there, we follow Addie as she forms friendships, endures family tragedies, explores career options and social activism and eventually finds romance, all as key world events unfold in the background. While, refreshingly, men are far from her chief focus, one of the more touching sections of the book centers on her short-lived and disastrous relationship with a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Diamant, best known for her best-selling book-club favorite The Red Tent, does a fine job of instantly endearing Addie to the reader. Fiercely independent, frequently awkward and quite witty, Addie is simply fun to hang out with, in a literary sense. Her journey through the 20th century is one readers will relish.