In a nutshell: In which I just want to say, eh, it was ok; nothing spectacular.
Having read The Red Tent over ten years ago and recalling it to be an intense literary read, my expectations for The Boston Girl may have been a bit high. Either my memory of The Red Tent is faulty or The Boston Girl just does not live up. The premise is eighty-five year old, Addie, recounts her coming-of-age during the 1920’s to Ava, her 22-year-old granddaughter. There are snippets of wisdom from Addie to Ava like You should always be kind to people, Ava. You never know what sorrows they’re carrying around. and You know Ava, it’s good to be smart, but kindness is more important. The anecdotes, although a good message, had a way of repeating throughout the novel.
Touted to be a book of feminism, I found The Boston Girl to be more focused on female friendships. The life-long friendships between the women of the reading club where Addie found her voice was the shining star of the novel. Diamant knows how to write female friendships like no other. But hardcore feminism? Nope.
I enjoyed the title of the chapters like The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. in which Addie learned to type and I thought he was sweet and that I was sweet on him. where Addie met a new beau. All of chapter titles felt like really good blog post titles. The various Jewish phrases interwoven gave some legitimacy to the culture in which Addie emerged.
The Boston Girl is a genteel novel that reads like a lighter memoir. According to Goodreads, many people have liked this novel. I can’t say I didn’t like it, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I would recommend this novel for those who enjoy a lighter fare of women’s fiction. Recommended with caution.
Have you read any of Anita Diamant’s books? Do you have a favorite?