My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.
This is the story of Addie Baum who describes her family story in Boston in the beginning of the 20th century.
The way the immigrants lived in the North End showing its multicultural neighborhood is very well described by the author. The inexperience of her parents in raising their children is also point out by the narrator itself (Addie).
Addie portrays her life in the period of 1915 to 1985 in order to answer her granddaughter’s question: “How did you get to be the woman you are today?”
By telling her story Addie shows how her rebel spirit gave her some hints in order to find her own destiny. She starts to work in a shirt factory and then she accepted a job in a local newspaper, despite the opinion of her parents. She then started to write her own column in this new job.
The author describes also very briefly how the population cope with the flu epidemic which killed a lot of people, including children and old-aged people; how the Americans who stayed at home faced the Great War’s effects by making clothes to the Army. Other important facts are also mentioned, such as the Depression, the Second World War and the Prohibition as well as the feminist movement.
The intertwining of Addie’s life with a historical background makes this book quite appealing, showing the life a young woman who always wanted to be independent. The difficulties of adapting of the immigrants and they way they accepted (or not) a different and unfamiliar culture is the central point of this book.
An interesting link North End History: Our Jewish Heritage describes the Jewish neighborhood in North End – Boston in the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century.