From 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 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Speaking to her favorite granddaughter, 85-year-old Addie Baum reflects on what it was like to come of age as an independent-minded, literary Jewish girl in early 20th-century America. Anita Diamant—author of The Red Tent—skillfully captures America's diverse and changing culture with this intimate and touching portrait of a shrewd, compassionate, and sassy woman who went from a squalid tenement to a job in a big-deal newsroom. We loved The Boston Girl and her fascinating, affecting story.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Addie is amazing.
You find yourself quickly drawn into Addie's world. Your heart breaks when her heart breaks. You're happy when she's happy. You are angry when she's angry. Diamant has a way of looping the reader in emotionally with her characters and you are rooting for them even before you really know them. The narrator, Linda Lavin, does an excellent job of bringing Addie to life. There are times where she grumbles something or laughs and its absolutely like hearing the story of a life from a vivacious elderly woman. Excellent.
Still remembering how great The Red Tent was and looking for a new read, I downloaded this. Boring. Fluffy. Just an overall disappointing book with little substance. At the end, the reader even has to endure a nasty political swipe against Ronald Reagan which at this point is tired and trite.
This is the second time I've read this book and so glad I did. I felt like I was visiting an old friend in Addie. It's intimately told and made me teary a few times, such a lovely account of witnessing someone learn their self worth and overcome changing times and having the courage to say, "why not, let's try this!"