The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita DiamantThe Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant

The Boston Girl: A Novel

byAnita Diamant

Hardcover | February 28, 2018

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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.
Anita Diamant is the author of Saying Kaddish, Choosing a Jewish Life, The New Jewish Wedding, Living a Jewish Life, The New Jewish Baby Book, Bible Baby Names, and the bestselling novel, The Red Tent. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
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Title:The Boston Girl: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:February 28, 2018Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1439199353

ISBN - 13:9781439199350

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've read in a long time The first book I've read in a long time that I've found hard to put down!
Date published: 2018-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth Reading I'm the kind of person that takes a month to read a novel because I keep putting it down. I read the Boston Girl in one sitting. #PlumReview
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Boston GirlI I loved it. I don,t have anymore to say about it and I Don,t want to add anymore characters to this. What a Pain!
Date published: 2015-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A New Favourite This is a must read. Smart, funny, and interesting, Addie Baum is wonderful. Its as if your grandmther is talking to you. I love this book.
Date published: 2015-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! Bought this while up at a cottage as a birthday gift to myself - couldn't put it down from the moment I started! This book kept me hooked the whole way through. It was educational at the same time a great story. Flowed very well - and had me laughing and crying. Overall AMAZING book, will definitely re-read and recommend to friends - I will be looking for Anita's other books for sure.
Date published: 2015-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book This book was very well written and accurate historically. I will definitely be looking for more of her books.
Date published: 2015-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worthwhile read A book that young women should read. Shows you that you never know where life will lead you. Friends are so important in ones life.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT STORY TELLING Born in the early 1900’s Addie Baum was the first child in her family to be born in America. She grew up in the North End of Boston … “before it was trendy” … Jewish, poor and in the shadow of her sisters – one the perfect daughter and the other the rebel. Addie spent most of her early years trying to find just where she fit in with her family. As her horizons broaden and she makes multi-cultural friends she finds not only a place for herself, but her own strength as well. The reader is allowed to listen in as Addie, now 85, relates the details of her life to her granddaughter, who is about to graduate from Harvard and be ordained as a Rabbi (“Oh my, if my father were alive to know his great-granddaughter was going to be a Rabbi his head would explode”). This was a time period that still believed a woman’s greatest purpose in life was to get married and have children, but it was also a time period where feminism began to poke its head out publicly and Margaret Sanger tried to give women some control over their own bodies. Women dared to show their ankles and wear trousers. Teaching was no longer the only acceptable profession for a woman UNTIL she got married. Colleges accepted women into previously “male only” curriculums and young ladies did not lose their respectability if they went to work and lived on their own. Massachusetts was deciding whether to give women the right to vote and Child Labor Laws were being written and challenged. Through Addie we learn what it was like to live, not only in an immigrant family, but also as a woman in that time period. Addie’s story is made up of everything that constitutes a real life. She shares the angst of her teen years, the arguments with parents who want to keep things “the old way”, first loves, first heartbreaks, tragedy and happiness. She takes us through the flu epidemic, two world wars and the great depression and she does so with her unique outlook on life and with humor and poignancy. I chose to listen to this book on audio, read by Linda Lavin. She did an outstanding job as the reader. Her voice was beautifully animated bringing Addie to life. It made me feel as if I was sitting there in a room with her, maybe with a fire going but definitely with a cup of tea, listening intently and not wanting to interrupt. Much credit to both Ms. Diamant and Ms. Lavin … Addie’s voice was both written and read beautifully. This book was a delight to read (listen to!). I do most of my audio book listening in the car on the way to and home from work. This was one of those books that I did not want to turn off when I reached my destination. Traffic jams seemed less annoying. Addie would definitely fall into the “cool grandmother” category and I loved her and the book.
Date published: 2015-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page turner! The Boston Girl is a very readable book. It is instantly engaging and a true page-turner. It's interesting and enjoyable. The novel is based on a grand-mother named Addie who is telling her life story to her grand-daughter, mostly focusing on when she was a young woman. She was born in 1900 to immigrant parents in Boston- so she's seen a lot of changes as the world changed and the role of women changed in her lifetime. Her parents- particularly her mother- were not pleased with her daughter taking on the American lifestyle so Addie had a very interesting upbringing navigating between what her family expected of her and what she knew to be right for her. She had many people along the way- teachers, friends, etc. who encouraged her and helped her to develop her mind and her education. They opened the door for her to have lots of educational experiences she wouldn't otherwise have had- her parents didn't even want her to go to high school. However, Addie is very bright and loves education and is curious about the world around her and never lets her family hold her back from what she truly wants- although she struggles with how she feels to let them down and do things that displease them so much. The book is mostly light and not dark or upsetting- but having said that it does touch on some difficult themes. Always quickly. I don't want to list them off here because I consider that to be a spoiler so I will say that if you have certain subjects in your life that strike a chord with you or are upsetting they could come up for you in this novel. I thought that Addie telling her life story it only made sense that life had some sadness in it- some terrible memories- some difficulties. It is true for all of us. What stands out more to me as the reader was how much Addie remembers of her life. She remembers the specific compliments people gave her, even as a child. She remembers the moments when people did something for her- changed her life, gave her something better, looked out for her. The way she fondly and specifically remembers these moments is SO INSPIRING! It made me think about life as being a series of opportunities to be remembered by those around you as being someone who gave them the supportive words that they needed to hear or helped them to get a little further in their life than they would otherwise get. It made me want to be one of those characters in the lives of people around me. That was my favourite part about this book. The relationship between Addie and her husband is so sweet and adorable I loved it. It isn't a huge part in the story, most of it takes place before they met- but I just adored the way that their relationship was written. I was so happy for Addie and for him as well. He was a very kind, compassionate man and Addie and him together was such a nice thought that a couple of such kind people came together and encouraged each other to be better. The place in Rockport that Addie gets to experience as a young woman and helps shape the woman she becomes is beautifully described- love how Ms. Diament described it. I could picture it and it was beautiful! I definitely could relate to how a place could be such a special character in someone's life and have as much influence as the people who that place represents. If you are interested in this novel I recommend that you pick it up. I read it in one sitting- about 6 and a half hours! It was such a page-turner and I was home in bed with nothing else to do so that's what happened! :) I've never read any other books by the author but she is a great writer- I was never bored on any page.
Date published: 2015-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I laughed and I cried I loved how the historical references made it real, human, not dull like a textbook. A really good read. Sad to reach the end.
Date published: 2015-01-16

Read from the Book

The Boston Girl Nobody told you? Ava, sweetheart, if you ask me to talk about how I got to be the woman I am today, what do you think I’m going to say? I’m flattered you want to interview me. And when did I ever say no to my favorite grandchild? I know I say that to all of my grandchildren and I mean it every single time. That sounds ridiculous or like I’m losing my marbles, but it’s true. When you’re a grandmother you’ll understand. And why not? Look at the five of you: a doctor, a social worker, two teachers, and now you. Of course they’re going to accept you into that program. Don’t be silly. My father is probably rolling over in his grave, but I think it’s wonderful. Don’t tell the rest of them, but you really are my favorite and not only because you’re the youngest. Did you know you were named after me? It’s a good story. Everyone else is named in memory of someone who died, like your sister Jessica, who was named for my nephew Jake. But I was very sick when you were born and when they thought I wasn’t going to make it, they went ahead and just hoped the angel of death wouldn’t make a mistake and take you, Ava, instead of me, Addie. Your parents weren’t that superstitious, but they had to tell everyone you were named after your father’s cousin Arlene, so people wouldn’t give them a hard time. It’s a lot of names to remember, I know. Grandpa and I named your aunt Sylvia for your grandfather’s mother, who died in the flu epidemic. Your mother is Clara after my sister Celia. What do you mean, you didn’t know I had a sister named Celia? That’s impossible! Betty was the oldest, then Celia, and then me. Maybe you forgot. Nobody told you? You’re sure? Well, maybe it’s not such a surprise. People don’t talk so much about sad memories. And it was a long time ago. But you should know this. So go ahead. Turn on the tape recorder. — My father came to Boston from what must be Russia now. He took my sisters, Betty and Celia, with him. It was 1896 or maybe 1897; I’m not sure. My mother came three or four years later and I was born here in 1900. I’ve lived in Boston my whole life, which anyone can tell the minute I open my mouth.

Editorial Reviews

"Enjoyable fiction with a detailed historical backdrop."