NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

3.0 out of 5 stars -- Trite and overly sentimental, this coming of age story is narrated by 85-year-old Addie Baum Metsky when she is interviewed by her college-aged granddaughter. Ava has asked the question, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"

Spanning the years from 1915-1985, Addie hits all the historical and period references, but she is a very emotionally removed narrator, more an observer, of the events and tragedies that befell other people during that time. It seems as though she has merely watched events unfold, participating from the sidelines, conveniently finding money, jobs, friends, and a love interest whenever needed to advance the story line. Her personal traumas are relatively minor compared to all that was happening in Boston, in America, and in the world during those years.

All told, I felt this was more of a fairy tale than a realistic picture of what life was really like for women living during the wars, the epidemics and the social upheaval of those critical decades. Addie always has some cliched words of wisdom to toss into the narrative and seems quite a lucky woman indeed to have navigated some experiences without too much suffering -- unlike most of the other characters. I was a bit disappointed as I loved THE RED TENT and its strong female protagonist, and found Addie's character to be rather bland and uninspiring. The historical events are mentioned almost as a side note with an offhand remark during the interview, and there isn't much depth to the relationships Addie has though she had an almost unbelievable group of friends who helped her immensely. Many of the supporting characters in Addie's story were stereotypes of Jewish mother, radical feminists, crusading lawyer, etc. I just didn't find the expected profundity in this novel, but I'm glad I read it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for the e-book ARC to review. 

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