Addie Baum is a Jewish woman born to immigrant
parents in Boston, in 1900. In 1985, Addie’s youngest granddaughter, Ava, asks
her how she came to be the woman she is today. So, Addie begins her story from
the year 1915. Her parents are suspicious and fearful, afraid to allow their
daughters any kind of opportunity that might make them less marriageable, or
that would bring any kind of scandal to the family. Against her parents’
wishes, Addie joins a library group for girls. The friendships she forges there
lead her to discover her own voice, her own value as a person. She shares her
discoveries, rife with mistakes and successes, life lessons learned in a
rapidly changing world where young women struggle to find a place. We see a
young naïve girl, held back by her family interests and obligations, blossom
into a wise and competent woman. Addie’s story held my interest from cover to
cover, told with humor and imagination. I felt myself smiling and quietly
applauding her life, the generous and kind soul who got to see her
grandchildren realize their own successes as well.
December 2014 Indie Next List
“Diamant brings a generation of women to life through the voice of Addie Baum. Born in 1900, Addie tells of her early childhood in Boston as the child of immigrant parents; her formative years as a Saturday Club girl, where she found her lifelong friends; her career path as a typist and journalist; and meeting her husband and finding meaningful work as a social worker. Her story plays out against a backdrop of some of the most basic issues women had to face as they found their places in 20th century America. As I turned the last pages of The Boston Girl, I was left with a serene sense of satisfaction. A historical feat and a very enjoyable read.”
— Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT
New York Times bestseller!
An unforgettable novel about a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century, told “with humor and optimism…through the eyes of an irresistible heroine” (People)—from the acclaimed author of The Red Tent.
Anita Diamant’s “vivid, affectionate portrait of American womanhood” (Los Angeles Times), follows the life of one woman, Addie Baum, through a period of dramatic change. Addie is The Boston Girl, the spirited daughter of an immigrant Jewish family, born in 1900 to parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End of Boston, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, to finding the love of her life, eighty-five-year-old Addie recounts her adventures with humor and compassion for the naïve girl she once was.
Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world. “Diamant brings to life a piece of feminism’s forgotten history” (Good Housekeeping) in this “inspirational…page-turning portrait of immigrant life in the early twentieth century” (Booklist).
About the Author
Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Boston Girl, The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, and Day After Night, and the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts. Visit her website at AnitaDiamant.com.
“Strong female ties form this story’s core. Through these relationships…Diamant brings to life a piece of feminism’s forgotten history [and reminds us] there will always be those who try to prescribe what you should be. Good friends are those who help you find out for yourself.”
“Diamant infuses [The Boston Girl] with humor and optimism, illuminating a wrenching period of American progress through the eyes of an irresistible heroine.”
"A graphic, page-turning portrait of immigrant life in the early twentieth century...an inspirational read.”
“The story of every immigrant and the difficulties of adapting to and accepting an unfamiliar culture."
"Enjoyable fiction with a detailed historical backdrop."
“Ravishing. . . .whip-smart, warm, and full of feeling… deeply pleasurable. . . you can’t help wanting to linger.”
“Crisp, lively, clear, wry, affectionate, compulsively readable and very entertaining…The Boston Girl’s…[narrator] is supremely brave and bighearted — a marvelous role model no matter how you parse it.”
“The Boston Girl convincingly traces the story of a scrappy, intelligent immigrant, who does more than merely survive the 20th century; she embraces it all—tragedies, joys, and the humdrum—with unflagging passion.”
"Addie is…a good storyteller, and her descriptions of the human devastation of World War I and the flu epidemic … have an immediacy that blows away any historical dust."
“Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl introduces[a] woman of substance…[who] relates how growing up in a time of gender inequality, strict family expectations, and a widening generation gap of social values made her a successful person.”
“A vivid, affectionate portrait of American womanhood …Diamant has built her career on taking women seriously, and Addie Baum is another strong heroine with an irrepressible voice.”
“Engaging… interesting, informative, and a good read.”
“This compelling new novel by the author of the book club favorite The Red Tent (1997) also celebrates a woman’s story.”
“Readers…will feel lucky that they read this richly textured all-American tale.”
“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.”
“A gripping story of a young Jewish woman growing up in early-20th-century Boston. . . A stunning look into the past with a plucky heroine readers will cheer for.”
“Diamant offers impeccable descriptions of Boston life during those early years of the 20th century and creates a loving, caring lead character who grows in front of our eyes.”
"A beautiful novel that captures yourheart."