Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Boston Girl

Anita Diamant

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 na├»ve 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 (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

When we first meet Addie Baum, she is 85 years old and is telling her life story to her granddaughter. Addie starts her story when she is a very young teenager, and takes us through her life until current day.

Initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Addie enough to want to read her story. But it wasn’t too far into the book that I changed my mind. Addie is strong willed, feisty and determined to break free of the staid life her mother has planned for her. There were not many opportunities for young women in the early 1900s, and Addie wants something more.

I like the way Ms. Diamant developed this character and tells Addie’s story. Addie’s fight to become an independent women during a time when this concept was unheard of made for a very interesting read.

I fell in love with Ms. Diamant’s writing after reading The Red Tent. I’m happy to report that The Boston Girl was another winner for me. I look forward to reading more books by this very talented writer.

My thanks to Scribner, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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