Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

This book is far different from "The Red Tent," Diamant's feminist novel of biblical proportions that put her on the best seller list in 1997.  But then it is a totally different kind of book.

This is a historical novel that takes the form of a casually related oral autobiography of the main character, Addie Baum, an 85-year old Jewish woman, to her granddaughter, who asks her how she got to be the woman she is today.

Her story is presented to us in brief dated sections starting in the early 1900's continuing through till 1985.  It is told in a casual, relaxed, and straightforward style with humor and quiet reflection.  The themes of friendship and family are explored in their historical context.  It is not a nostalgic look back, in fact one of the closing sections is titled "Don't let anyone  tell you things aren't better than they used to be."  But it does have emotional resonance and is a nice portrait of one woman's complicated life in twentieth century America.  It is also an enjoyable read about a generation of women trying to find their places in a changing world.

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