“The Boston Girl” by Anita Diamant (Scribner, 336 pages, $26)
Bestselling author Anita Diamant is having a moment. Her first novel, 1997’s beloved “The Red Tent,” has been made into a two-night Lifetime miniseries.
Now, she’s back with her fifth novel, “The Boston Girl,” a coming-of-age story narrated by Addie Baum.
At age 85, Addie is telling the story of her life to her 22-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her: “How did you get to be the woman you are today?” Divided into years and presented in an oral-history style, Addie’s tale begins in the early 1900s when her Jewish Russian immigrant parents settle on the North End of Boston.
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Her parents mistrust their new modern country and stubbornly cling to their old traditions. But Addie, the youngest of three daughters, and the only one born in America, is determined to make a life of her own, including finishing high school and dreaming of college and a career.
Addie’s account of her day-to-day life is an exploration of the immigrant experience, love, marriage and friendship, plus many significant world events, including World War I and II, Prohibition, the Spanish flu epidemic, civil rights and the sexual revolution. Through it all, family and friendship remain resilient.