Narrated by Linda Lavin
Addie Baum interviews for her granddaughter Ava and tells the story of her remarkable unremarkable life as a girl growing up in Boston in the early 1900s. She’s seen heartbreak, the The Great War, the Flu Epidemic, the evolution of women’s suffrage and child labor laws… but she tells her story with an emphasis on the people around her – family, friends, and loves. Her story is the journey of a life, with all its missteps and wonders.
I’ve been meaning to read another of Anita Diamant’s books for ages.
I love The Red Tent. It’s one of my top ten favorite books of all time. I’ve read it probably half a dozen times. The book is good. The audiobook is good. Sometimes I stop listening to one book in the middle because I feel the need to listen to The Red Tent again. I would absolutely take that book to a desert island, and if my house was burning down and I could only rescue a handful of books, The Red Tent would be one of them.
That said, The Boston Girl is not better than The Red Tent. But it is just as good.
At first, I was hesitant. I grabbed this book on Audible last March during a sale, figuring “why not? Any Anita Diamant book is fine.” and I’m not sure I even read the description. For the first five minutes, I hated the book. Why was she giving an interview? Is this whole book going to be a dialogue?
It only took until the end of the sixth minute to fall in love with it.
Addie is strong and independent, but she is also foolish and defiant. Her family is unfair to her, and the world she starts out in does not care for women. And yet, you immediately have to admire Addie because she rubs up against the barriers of her world and her culture to carve out her own identity. She falls in love and has her heart broken mercilessly. She sees a guy and doesn’t really feel anything (when does that ever happen in books?! Refreshing!). She falls in love at first sight. She stays in school longer than most poor children did at the time, and even takes night classes when she works. She never, ever apologizes for who she is, and I think that’s difficult even today.
You find yourself quickly drawn into Addie’s world. Your heart breaks when her heart breaks. You’re happy when she’s happy. You are angry when she’s angry. Diamant has a way of looping the reader in emotionally with her characters and you are rooting for them even before you really know them. The narrator, Linda Lavin, does an excellent job of bringing Addie to life. There are times where she grumbles something or laughs and its absolutely like hearing the story of a life from a vivacious elderly woman. Excellent.
Even if you are a hard copy of eBook person, I cannot recommend enough listening to the audiobook of The Boston Girl. The narration adds a whole additional dimension to the story that makes it even grander. As I said, I got my copy on Audible (no affiliation) and you can listen to a sample of the audiobook here if you don’t believe me.