Books about female friendship make me so happy. 🙂 And it’s fitting that this book was recommended to me by one of my friends who’s also doing a reading challenge. Feel free to comment with any good books you’ve been reading lately – I’m always open to suggestions! I already want to read this one again:
Title – The Boston Girl
Author – Anita Diamant
Page count – 320
The narrator of this book, Addie Baum, is telling the story of “how she became the woman she is today” to her 22-year-old granddaughter Ava. The present time is 1985 when Addie has just celebrated her 85th birthday, but she begins her story in 1915. The book is divided into sections based on important years in Addie’s life. The most beautiful thing about this story is how Addie was influenced by all the different relationships she had with women throughout her life – from her mother and sisters to her daughters and granddaughters; from her school and work mentors to the friends she made as a teenager and kept in touch with for 70 years.
Many things about this time in America were different, yet some things never seem to change. Teenage girls fought with their mothers. It was taboo to talk about things like contraception, miscarriages, and abortion. Women were shamed for working outside The Home, and when they did they faced sexist, hostile work environments. But there are glimmers of hope, too – friends support each other through an unexpected pregnancy; family comes together to get through job loss and health scares; women beat the odds to become professors and artists and lawyers and happy stay-at-home moms.
My quote for this book is when Addie is recounting one of the weeks she spent at a Lodge outside Boston (kind of like going to camp). It was special for Addie because she lived in a crowded, poor part of the city.
“Rockport Lodge was on the road between Gloucester and Rockport, but I only saw one car pass by. It was so quiet that I could hear the bees buzzing around the roses and a bird singing from far away. Someone upstairs called, “Has anyone seen my hairbrush?” In the kitchen, there was chopping. Every sound was separate – like framed pictures on a wall. I thought, Aha! This is what you call peace and quiet.” (p. 31)
Another bit that shows Addie’s sense of humor:
“You know, Ava, it’s good to be smart, but kindness is more important. Oh dear, another old-lady chestnut to stitch on a sampler. Or maybe one of those cute little throw pillows.” (p. 288)