Book Review – The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant
If you like action thrillers or mysteries, The Boston Girl isn’t the book for you, but for an easy read and a feel good tale, you will definitely find that with this story.
Telling the story of her life, is octogenarian Addie Baum and it’s a tale of growing up in the early twentieth century as an immigrant in Boston. Addie tells this story to her granddaughter and so the style is relaxed and informal, like a chat to an old friend. I love the way that every now and then, Anita brings in a reference to the granddaughter, something that relates Addie’s story to her life, or that connects the pair. This is a nice touch, that acts not only as a reminder of who she is talking to, but as a small insight in to this other girl’s life.
The story reads like a memoir and it gives an insight into life as a (Jewish) immigrant and growing up in the poverty of the early nineteen hundreds, during Prohibition, both World Wars and the Depression. Struggling to make ends meet, living on the poverty line and coping with the cultural change of moving to a blossoming America, are all areas neatly covered in the story. Addie’s mother, in particular, is an interesting character, who never seemed to settle in to her new life, was desperate to keep her traditional cultures alive and couldn’t bear her daughters becoming ‘American’, with the freedom that came with it.
However, despite her mother’s lack of encouragement, Addie made a life for herself in Boston, got herself an education and worked to forge a career in a man’s world. There is hardship along the way for both herself and her family and you are left with the impression that life back then was tough. In fact, I like that Addie says to her granddaughter that she should not listen to the old folk who say that life was better in the old days than it is today. She says quite categorically that it was not, but despite the struggles, she found happiness and settled in to become a true Boston girl.
This book completes the trilogy that I set out to read at the beginning of the summer. Not bad going if I say so myself, as I believe it is still, just about, summer. I’m now moving on to read Skeleton Road, by Val McDermid, as part of my on-line book group. If you would like to read this book too, you can join in the discussion and add your own review.