Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Review Chain: The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Rating: PG
Genre: Historical Fiction
Score: ❤❤❤❤
Page Count: 336
Stand Alone
Publisher: Scribner
Published: December 9th, 2014

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.

1. I've been wanting to read this book ever since it was first released! When I had the chance to review it, I was so eager to get my hands on the book. Special thanks to Simon & Schuster as well as The Review Chain for the paperback review copy! I love books that are set in the fifties on back and since this book follows a young woman trying to find her way in the world in a time when things were so unsure in the United States, I just had to pick it up. Here's the review:

2. I adored Addie, our main character, as she tells her granddaughter about her life as a young woman growing up during WWI and The Great Depression as well as the Flu Breakout. They were very difficult times for millions of people and Addie saw and experienced it all while also trying to figure out who she was, make a good life for herself, falling in love, and learning that life comes with its fair share of trials. She was a very smart girl and strong-willed as well as independent. I thought she was a strong female lead that didn't pretend things were perfectly fine when they obviously weren't. She went through many things that I thought added to her character growth such as grief, self-blame, loss, frustration and even a sense of feeling lost. I thought she was the ideal character to represent a lot of the emotional things a lot of people deal with on a daily basis and was very relatable.

3. This book is very much character driven and I wouldn't recommend it for readers who love a good plot. But if you're a reader who loves a book that's character driven then totally check this one out. It was so nice to see Addie, her friends, and her family go through the years as life changed both for them and the people around them. Family was a very important thing to Addie and the reoccurring theme throughout the book really highlighted that as her story progressed. It also had themes of friendship, how to stand up for yourself even when it's scary and how falling in love isn't easy but that doesn't mean that life isn't worth living.

4. Overall, I just really loved this book. I also loved how Addie struggles with real-life struggles such as staying true to herself and how important her religion and heritage was to her and her family. This book wasn't preachy or anything! It just shows that being a young Jewish woman growing up in America came with its own struggles as her and her family had to adapt to a new way of living while also staying true to where they came from. Addie wanted a different life for herself than what her parents wanted for her and she had to learn how to pave her own way while also wanting to make them proud. This book is just so real in so many ways that I think it's a great book to have on your shelf if you ever need some inspiration.

I didn't give this book a five-star rating because while this book is great for young readers since it's very much a coming of age story, I'm just not sure a lot of older readers would enjoy this one. Addie is an 85-year-old woman who begins telling her story that begins when she was a teenager and I myself would get a little frustrated and even bothered by some of the things she said or did. I really enjoyed this book but would recommend it to younger readers who will appreciate it more.

You Can Purchase The Book Here:

About The Author:

Anita is best-known for her first novel, THE RED TENT, which was published in 1997 and won the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, THE RED TENT became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and overseas, where it has been published in more than 25 countries. 

Three other novels followed: GOOD HARBOR, THE LAST DAYS OF DOGTOWN and, DAY AFTER NIGHT.

Anita has also written six non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life, which have become classic reference books: THE NEW JEWISH WEDDING, THE JEWISH BABY BOOK, LIVING A JEWISH LIFE, CHOOSING A JEWISH LIFE, HOW TO RAISE A JEWISH CHILD, and SAYING KADDISH.. 

An award-winning journalist, Diamant's articles have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Real Simple, Parenting Magazine, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine.PITCHING MY TENT, a collection personal essays, is drawn from twenty years worth of newspaper and magazine columns. 

Author Links:


  1. I have to agree that this is definitely more of a character driven novel. But I did love it myself as well when I read it, so I'm glad you could fall in love with this book too. It was good to learn more about Judaism and I was happy it didn't seem preachy in any way too <3 Thanks so much for reviewing!

    1. Yes, especially since Addie was such a great character! I'm currently recommending it to all my friends in hopes of getting them to read it too :D I'm glad you liked the review!