More often than not, when I’m looking for a birthday gift for my beloved mother, I choose a book. We celebrated Mom’s birthday last week, and this year, I chose for her Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl.
The novel crossed my radar last fall. My bibliophilic bff Deb read it and recommended it, enthusiastically. In December, I even went to hear Anita Diamant in conversation with Dara Horn at an event organized by Moment Magazine at The Jewish Museum (books were sold there, too). But I didn’t read the new novel until I was prodded by the inaugural “meeting” of the Jewish Women’s Archive Book Club, a new online gathering-place; you can find the archive of that discussion, which occurred on February 10, here.
The Boston Girl‘s protagonist is Addie, who is a teenager in 1915, when the story she narrates to her granddaughter begins. Unlike her elder sisters, Addie is American-born (this division—some siblings born in the Old World, some in the New—resembles the situation of my maternal grandmother and her sisters, which is one reason I thought my mother would appreciate this book). Addie is the titular “Boston Girl,” and we learn a great deal about Boston, and American history, through her recounted experiences.
I found the book to be a most enjoyable read. I agree with some of the criticisms you’ll find in these reviews. Overall, though, I share Deb’s recommendation: The Boston Girl is well worth your time, especially if you’re interested in history, Boston, women’s studies—and, of course, Jewish literature!