Day 1067: The Boston Girl

Cover for The Boston GirlI keep trying Anita Diamant, hoping to encounter something as good as The Red Tent. So far, however, I have not read anything by her that comes close.

The Boston Girl is about the life of Addie Baum, the child of Jewish immigrants, from her young womanhood in 1915 until she is an old woman in 1985. It is written in the first person, as if Addie is speaking to her granddaughter.

This narrative styles is probably the biggest weakness of the novel. It is not a traditional narrative but one person’s side of a conversation. Although Addie does all the talking, occasionally she addresses her granddaughter directly, and that has a false, jarring effect.

In addition, although the narrative does tell a story, it is broken up more like a series of anecdotes. This style removes most of the tension from the novel, and there is no sense of a narrative arc. There is no climax.

The story deals mostly with Addie’s thirst for knowledge and her desire to accomplish more in her life than working in a factory. She also strives to earn a word of approval from her mother. She could have been an interesting and compelling character, but none of the characters in this novel feel fully formed.

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6 thoughts on “Day 1067: The Boston Girl

  1. julietbailey980 April 18, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    I loved The Red Tent too and have kept picking up her other books, but none of them have appealed to me in the same way.

  2. Naomi April 19, 2017 / 10:32 am

    I will stick to The Red Tent!

  3. Davida Chazan May 1, 2017 / 8:29 am

    I have to agree with you on this one. I didn’t care much for it either. Furthermore, the story stops just when I thought it would get interesting. Terribly disappointing.

    • whatmeread May 1, 2017 / 10:43 am

      Yes, I think perhaps she was basing it on stories from her own grandmother and kept it too close to reality. I think this is sometimes a problem with historical fiction about real people, too.

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