The Boston Girl
by Anita Diamant
This book is a recollection of a lifetime of an 80 year old woman born after the turn of the century, as told to her granddaughter.
I kind of hoped for broad conclusions, new ideas or reflections on coming so far professionally,personally, economically in life, or on early birth control or transitioning culturally to America or even her relationship with her corrosive mother. The book didn’t dig much deeper than events. However, it seemed to be a realistic depiction of how a grandmother might speak to a young woman- full of remembered compliments, traumatic deaths, dear friends and weddings.
I feel silly saying this about Diamant (because of her previous publications) but I also wished for more Yiddish, more Jewish culture and more Boston. For example- we won the World Series in 1918- the main character Addie must have witnessed it, how did the city react?? Otherwise, I enjoyed the local references and I probably missed several as my brain didn’t register them to be Boston-specific. Addie at one point sat outside my family’s Italian North End church to wait for a friend. The flu epidemics touched her family as well as mine in real life.
Overall, I really felt like the book skimmed the surface of what were otherwise intense periods of history, a vibrant city and focused instead on interpersonal relationships, which could have been set at any time and in any place. I couldn’t picture, feel or smell Hanover Street of the 1920’s when her descriptions were limited to “too gross”. I’d recommend the book as a great family memoir piece but lacking in the depth I hoped for.